The assumption of axisymmetry, employed by most of studies on piston ring lubrication, probably gives a too idealistic model for the real situation. A theoretical model for a nonaxisymmetrical analysis of piston ring lubrication has been established in the present study. When a piston ring with an arbitrary free shape is fitted into the cylinder bore, the determination of ring deflection and contact load has been modeled mathematically as a Linear Complementary Problem (LCP). By combining LCP solution with lubrication analysis, the film thickness and contact load distribution over the circumference are obtained, leading to a more realistic simulation for piston ring lubrication. The friction force between piston ring and cylinder bore is predicted by the mixed lubrication model including the effects of surface roughness and asperity contact. The static distortion of cylinder bore, gas pressure variation, and lubricant starvation are also considered in the simulation. Results show that the contact pattern and film thickness between piston ring and cylinder bore are not exactly axisymmetrical. The main reason for the nonuniform contact is the asymmetry of ring elasticity, the static distortion and dynamic load created by the secondary movement of piston skirt.

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