Finite Element Thermo-Structural Methodology for Investigating Diesel Engine Pistons with Thermal Barrier Coating 03-12-01-0006
This also appears in
SAE International Journal of Engines-V128-3EJ
Traditionally, in combustion engine applications, metallic materials have been widely employed due to their properties: castability and machinability with accurate dimensional tolerances, good mechanical strength even at high temperatures, wear resistance, and affordable price. However, the high thermal conductivity of metallic materials is responsible for consistent losses of thermal energy and has a strong influence on pollutant emission.
A possible approach for reducing the thermal exchange requires the use of thermal barrier coating (TBC) made by materials with low thermal conductivity and good thermo-mechanical strength.
In this work, the effects of a ceramic coating for thermal insulation of the piston crown of a car diesel engine are investigated through a numerical methodology based on finite element analysis. The study is developed by considering firstly a thermal analysis and then a thermo-structural analysis of the component. The loads acting on the piston are considered both separately and combined to achieve a better understanding of their mutual interaction and of the coating effect on the stress state.
The thermal analysis pointed out a decrease of temperature up to 40°C in the upper part of the piston for the coated model. Despite the lower deformations induced by the reduced thermal load, the stiffening effect provided by the TBC results in higher peak stress. However, the lower temperature field inside the piston compensates by allowing higher yielding stresses for the component and reducing the impact on the safety factor.
The methodology is validated by comparison of the model results with numerical data available from the literature; limitations and potential future improvements are also discussed.