Development of a Thermal Fatigue Test Bench for Cylinder Head Materials
An innovative specimen design and test system for thermal fatigue (TF) analysis is developed to compare the fatigue behavior of different cylinder head materials under realistic cyclic thermal loadings. Finite element analyses were performed to optimize the specimen geometry and thermal cycles. The reduced section of the TF specimen is heated locally by a high frequency induction heater and cooled by compressed air. The mechanical strain is then induced internally by the non-uniform thermal gradient generated within the specimen to closely simulate what valve bridges in cylinder heads experience in real operation. The resulting fatigue life is a function not only of the inherent fatigue resistance of the alloys, but also of other relevant properties such as thermal conductivity, modulus of elasticity, and coefficient of thermal expansion. This test is an essential tool for comparing different alloys for thermal fatigue applications.