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Ceramic Coating for Aluminum Engine and Components
Published April 01, 1996 by Associazione Tecnica Dell'Automobile in Italy
The trend toward lighter vehicles for improved performance has recently introduced the use of aluminum and plastic materials for vehicle bodies and drive trains. In particular, the aluminum alloy block foar engine application is certain to reappear. The soft aluminum cylinder liner will require additional treatment before acceptance. Three possible approaches appear to solve the aluminum cylinder liner dilemma. These approaches are: 1) use of high silicon aluminum such as the 390 aluminum; 2) insert or cast steel liners into the aluminum engine block; and 3) ceramic coat the low cost standard aluminum engine block. Each has known advantages and disadvantages. It is the purpose of this paper to present the merits of option 3, the ceramic coated aluminum cylinder bore, from the standpoint of low weight, cost, and tribological effectiveness.
The advantages of approaches 1) and 2) are obvious. High temperature after treatment of the ceramic engine components is not required. Aluminum properties are such that one must carefully observe changes in physical properties of aluminum such as creep, aging, stress/strain and other important properties dependent upon temperature. Therefore, a ceramic coating possessing low curing temperature is highly desirable. A low temperature organo-metallic phosphate (CMP) coating developed recently for aluminum alloy substrates is expected to meet requirements of lowered cost and improved effectiveness for engine applications.
Engine tests were conducted to determine the effectiveness of this ceramic composite coating. The aluminum engine block of a small bore single cylinder diesel engine was ceramic composite coated and laboratory rig tested. Preliminary test data has shown the aluminum composite coating has performed well. Durability tests are currently underway to demonstrate the viability of these ceramic coated aluminum components for tribology and insulation of future engine components.
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