A review of factors affecting an engine piston design and its successful operation reveal the thin line existing between Art and Science. Piston language and basic terms are discussed and illustrated for engineers with limited knowledge of engine pistons. A review of fundamentals is outlined for engineers who daily face the increased demands for higher speeds and output from engines that are ever decreasing in size. A fresh evaluation of the basics will reveal the costs involved when these rules are ignored.
All engine pistons discussed are aluminum alloy with and without various integrally cast ferrous inserts. Many points of interest are considered, including: lube oil control, wrist pin cracks, close fit and ring groove protectors versus high silicon alloys. Because of the individuality of engines and their pistons, definite answers are not proposed for general problems. The blending of experience and a thorough knowledge of fundamentals are necessary to achieve any successful piston design.