Silicon Nitride Turbocharger Rotor for High Performance Automotive Engines
Toyota Motor Corporation has mass-produced turbochargers with silicon nitride ceramic rotors since October, 1989. Those turbochargers have been introduced into Celica and MR-2 which are Toyota sporty-type passenger cars. The designing of ceramic rotor was carried out in order to ensure the strength and durability of the component as well as to obtain the same aerodynamic characteristics as in the metal rotor. A moment of inertia was reduced by 60% using ceramic rotor which improved turbocharger response. The ceramic rotor was joined to metal shaft by new method which compensated problems in both shrink fitting and active brazing methods. High temperature strength of silicon nitride material was improved by controlling the amount of sintering additives and sintering conditions. The ceramic injection moulding was employed to mass-produce rotors with complicated shape, applying optimun binder compositions and moulding conditions.