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PISTONS

SI ENGINE

Piston structure

SI engine piston head designs

Increasing specific power output results in higher


mechanical load on the piston group as a consequence
of higher cylinder pressures and/or engine speeds.
With increasing specific power output, the piston thermal
loading also rises. Therefore the selection of material must
be carefully carried out, and due consideration given to
the respective thermal limits. Appropriate countermeasures
can then be applied as necessary.
These load trends, together with the demand for reduced
oscillating masses, constitute one of the key challenges for
piston producers.

Cylinder pressures for SI engines

Lightweight Construction of SI pistons

The lightweight construction diagram shows the so called


apparent density of the piston (k factor), plotted versus the
relative compression height. There is virtually a linear
relationship between k factor and relative compression
height for pistons based on the same design principle.
In the direction towards low compression heights, the
piston design is limited by the space needed for the ring
zone and conrod clearance as well as increasing piston
crown stresses. The level of tolerable crown stresses may
by increased by material substitution. At a constant
compression height, the reduction in weight is constrained
by the minimum wall thicknesses that can be implemented
with the material aluminum (elasticity) and the wall
thicknesses needed to absorb lateral piston forces.

The red arrow in the diagram characterizes the successful


implementation of light weight design in the last decade. It
is obvious that piston weight for port fuel injected (PFI)
engines could be reduced continuously in spite of
increasing power density. This was only possible with the
support of advanced analytical design tools (e.g. FEA) and
optimizations of materials and the casting process.
The piston weight cannot be independent of the load level.
The piston lightweight level attainable today is shown,
using the example of two implemented development
projects with extremely different load levels, by points 1:
(55 kW/l; 7.5 MPa) and 2: (72 kW/l; 11.0 MPa). The area
between these two points is therefore representative of the
status reached today.

The selection of the piston design principle (forged piston


monolithic core, or cast piston multi-part core, in some
cases combined with cast recess behind the ring zone), and
of the piston material depends on the specific requirements
and the dimensional specifications for the respective
application.
The decrease in oscillating masses leads to improvements
in engine friction and noise excitation. The demand for lower
piston weight is often also justified by the higher engine
speed needed to boost power output. Weight reduction
starting from todays already low values typically leads to
more flexible components. A more flexible piston, however,
may well lead to increased subjective engine noise. In this
case an optimum design is the only way to prevent
undesirable side effects of lightweight construction.

Today, most pistons are made of the high-temperature alloy


KS1295 to protect the first groove and to withstand the
resulting high crown and boss loads.
Microwelding in the First Ring Groove
Rising groove temperatures caused by reduced top land
height, deep valve pockets and a general increase in power
density, in combination with reduced oil consumption, make
measures to protect the first ring groove from microwelding
of aluminium from the groove onto the first ring increasingly
necessary. As the countermeasures on the ring have so far
not yielded a reliable result, problem solving efforts have to
be concentrated on the piston. Next Figure shows results
from studies of various piston and groove materials in
engines with respect to their microwelding tendency in the
first groove.

Influence of different groove materials and groove protection


measures in a 60h microwelding test

Piston for V8 engine, material KS1295, locally limited protection of


first groove byhard anodizing, with Ferrocoat layer

Weight-optimized ring carrier piston, top land height 3.2 mm

Cooling-gallery piston for a supercharged SI engine

High power density piston for SI engine

Demands for a drastic reduction of fuel consumption,


together with severe competition from diesel engines, have
boosted efforts for the development of new combustion
methods for spark ignition engines.
In Europe, DI spark-ignition engines have been developed
to commercial maturity during the last few years.
These engines are based on either wall formed stratified
charge or homogeneous combustion concepts.
In addition, efforts for the combination of these two
concepts with turbo-charging and the development of
spray-formed combustion processes are under way. In
addition to reduced fuel consumption, these activities are
aimed at an engine power increase.

One way to reduce fuel consumption of a DI spark-ignition


engine is the operation with stratified charge so that
throttling can be avoided over a wide range of the
map.
Other methods of optimizing consumption consist of utilizing
the inside cooling effect so that the compression ratio can
be increased and the efficiency is improved, together with
the resulting downsizing effect in combination with turbocharging.
Pistons developed for stratified charge operation usually
have a complex piston crown geometry.
As a result of the deeper bowl compared with current sparkignition engines, along with the required conrod clearance,
extremely low compression heights cannot be achieved in
pistons for DI spark-ignition engines.

Pistons for SI engine DI

Moreover, the requirement to match the piston surface


contour outside the combustion chamber bowl as much as
possible to the shape of the cylinder head involves an
accumulation of material above the piston pin boss.

These two constraints have led to the situation that, despite


all efforts, such pistons were until now normally heavier
than comparable conventional pistons.

LiteKS piston design for DI spark-ignition engine, newly developed


casting technology

Using the LiteKS (patent pending) piston design, this trend


can be broken.
With the LiteKS piston design (previous Figure), it is
possible to implement cast recesses in the ring zone area,
which as far as possible match the material accumulations
above the piston pin axis so that weight disadvantages are
compensated. In addition, the comfort features (defined skirt
elasticity distribution), without scuff sensitivity are maintained
in the LiteKS piston.

In addition, the comfort features (defined skirt elasticity


distribution), without scuff sensitivity are maintained in
the LiteKS piston.
In this way, weight savings of 20% compared with
conventional lightweight piston designs and significant
fatigue strength improvements in the highly loaded piston
areas have already been achieved.
Further weight reductions of the piston group by a
combination of the LiteKS piston with a tapered conrod
and optimum piston pin dimensions are increasingly being
implemented.

The so-called apparent density of the piston (k factor),is

There is virtually a linear relationship between the k factor


and the relative compression height for pistons based on
the same design principle. In the direction towards low
compression heights, the piston design is limited by the
space required for the ring zone and conrod clearance as
well as increasing crown stresses. The level of tolerable
crown stresses can be increased by material substitution.

The weight of DI spark-ignition pistons is significantly


higher today than that of recent developments for port-fuelinjected (PFI) spark-ignition engines.
With the use of LiteKS piston technology, even pistons
that would be substantially heavier than average due to
their combustion chamber design, can achieve the weight
level of current production pistons for PFI engines.

The combustion chamber related mass accumulation in the


piston crown and the resulting high centre of gravity
increases the risk of piston noise. Therefore, special attention
must be paid to good skirt guidance (length).
Newly developed wear resistant LofriKS plastic skirt
coatings allow a permanently low assembly clearance to be
achieved.
The influence of different radii on the crack formation was
studied. The result of such studies is that the optimum
compromise between the sharp-edged design desirable for
combustion reasons and the rounding required
for strength is R = 1 mm, both in terms of thermal shock
resistance and (tensile) stress load.

By reducing the top land height to a dimension that can


reasonably be expected for the future, the groove
temperature level was raised and then set to the value
required for the various tests by adjusting the ignition
timing. The degree of groove damage is assessed on the
basis of the extent and depth of the microwelded zones.
The individual columns represent the results of the four
cylinders of an engine.
By weld hardening or hard anodizing of the first groove, the
load tolerance can be increased further. The measures
shown here are applied in series production and have been
tried and tested for many years.

After completing the groove anodizing development for


gasoline engines to allow the process to beline-integrated
with optimum low groove roughness, a reduction of the
zone to be anodized (selective groove coating) was
accomplished by further development efforts. Anodizing of
the piston crown in conjunction with the groove consumes
electrolyte, and it offers no benefit in this area. The
process applied by KS offers optimum conditions for
screening the zones not to be coated.
Local anodizing can be easily combined with plastic
coatings of the piston skirt or iron coating of the other
piston surfaces. An iron coat on the piston crown, for
example, may be retained as an effective layer for
protection against detonation damage

Two stroke engine

CI ENGINE

The diesel engine has continued its advance in the


passenger car sector in Europe.
This situation is not least due to the great progress achieved
in diesel development with respect to the power, dynamics
and ride comfort of the vehicles during the past few years. To
days diesel vehicles play a significant role in the reduction of
fleet fuel consumption, leading to a significant decrease in
CO2 greenhouse gas emissions. The increased number of
diesel registrations, however, also has an effect on NOx and
especially on particle emissions. It is anticipated that diesel
particle filters will be used more widely.

Compared with pistons for commercial vehicle engines,


passenger car engine pistons are lightweight and possess
a low construction height.
The specific power output has in the meantime reached
approx. 50 kW/l to 60 kW/l. These engines usually have 4
valves per cylinder and a combustion bowl located
centrally in the piston. The combustion pressure of such
engines reaches peak values between 160 bar and
180 bar. Pistons for these loads are currently equipped
with a rotationally symmetrical cooling gallery. For the
reinforcement of the top ring groove, the well-proven
niresist ring carrier is the best alternative, considering
both function and cost-effectiveness.

Development Trends
Most direct injection diesel engines for passenger cars due
to be launched in series production around the year 2004
will reach a specific power output of up to about 65 kW/l.
The increased engine power output is accompanied by a
rise in peak cylinder pressure to values of 200 bar.
These engines are characterized by 4 valves per cylinder,
a combustion bowl located centrally in the piston and highpressure injection systems (third generation
common rail, unit injection), with good controllability of the
injection process by means of electronic controls for preinjection and post-injection.
This development of course has an influence on the
combustion bowl geometry.

Euro 4 bowls tend to be shallower and have a larger diameter


than theirpredecessors (Fig. 1). This means for the piston a
reduction of the distance between the combustion bowl and
ring carrier. The effects of this trend on the piston thermal
loading are shown in Fig. 2. This represents the temperatures
at the bowl edge and behind the first ring groove, which are
critical for function and durability, as a function of the specific
power output.
Despite the cooling gallery, the bowl edge temperature
reaches critical values for aluminium piston alloys of over 400
C. The top ring groove temperature can rise to over 300 C,
which also has an adverse effect on top ring function due to
high carbonization.

Figure 1: Design of combustion bowls

Figure 2: Piston temperatures as a function of the specific


engine power output

As a solution to this problem, offers cooling galleries with


variable cross-section. This development was aimed at better
piston cooling whilst also reducing weight and
achieving higher component strength.
What may seem contradictory at first glance was implemented
as follows: to achieve a higher cooling efficiency, the cooling
gallery must be positioned as close to the first groove and
bowl edge as possible. Considering the stress values of the
cooling cavity around the entire circumference, it was found
that there are critical values towards the bowl over the pin axis,
but low stress values perpendicular to the pin axis.

The cooling gallery was then optimised by targeted material


distribution in such a way (Fig. 3) that the stress peaks are
balanced.
Maintaining its proven salt core technology, the cooling
gallery is optimized with respect to shape and position and
can be produced cost-effectively.

Figure 3: Cooling gallery with variable cross-section

As inclined oil jets are employed in most engines, the impact


point of the oil stream on the piston under crown depends on
the stroke position and thus on the crank angle.
In order to improve the cooling oil flow, the inlet opening was
designed as a slot, and a deflector (jet splitter) was positioned
on the crown side in such a way that the oil jet is diverted
circumferentially in a targeted way and an even,
controlled volumetric flow is obtained (Fig. 4).
When the oil jet no longer enters the inlet opening as the
stroke progresses, it cools the piston interior and additionally
supplies oil to the pin / pin bore / conrod small end system.
This combined gallery and under crown cooling has been well
proven in many production applications.

Figure 4: Impact point of the oil jet on the piston under crown

When the oil jet no longer enters the inlet opening as the
stroke progresses, it cools the piston interior and additionally
supplies oil to the pin / pin bore / conrod small end system.
This combined gallery and under crown cooling has been well
proven in many production applications.
A comparison with the standard cooling gallery shows that the
variable cooling gallery offers temperatures that are approx.
10 C lower at the bowl edge and approx. 15 C lower at the
top ring groove.

Fig. 5: Comparison of cooling gallery temperatures

Surface plot of the temperature distribution.

PISTON RINGS

Compression rings

Oil Control Rings

PISTON PIN