Development of a Fiber Reinforced Aluminum Piston for Heavy Duty Diesel Engines 940584
This paper discusses a joint customer-supplier program intended to further develop the ability to design and apply aluminum alloy pistons selectively reinforced with ceramic fibers for heavy duty diesel engines. The approach begins with a comprehensive mechanical properties evaluation of base and reinforced material. The results demonstrated significant fatigue strength improvement due to fiber reinforcement, specially at temperatures greater than 300°C. A simplified numerical analysis is performed to predict the temperature and fatigue factor values at the combustion bowl area for conventional and reinforced aluminum piston designs for a 6.6 liter engine. It concludes that reinforced piston have a life expectation longer than conventional aluminum piston. Structural engine tests under severe conditions of specific power and peak cylinder pressure were used to confirm the results of the cyclic properties evaluation and numerical analysis. As predicted, the conventional aluminum pistons failed at the bowl rim, while the ceramic fiber reinforced pistons did not. The results demonstrated that selective ceramic fiber reinforcement is a technical solution for extending the use of aluminum pistons to heavy duty diesel engines for today's and future applications.