Manufacturers of automotive parts design piston rings for a race engine to seal and control the flow of oil upwards within the combustion chamber and the blow-by gases flow inside the crankcase. To prevent entering of oil into the combustion chamber, piston pins are used in the engine. If oil enters in large quantity, it may cause combustion issues. Even the small quantity where the oil is burned, the oil loss can be serious, and so you need to carry a supply of oil during the trip. On the road, this is not a big issue.
Nobody wants unburned compressed charge or burned combustion products to enter into the crankcase. This will lose cylinder pressure and ultimately, contaminate the engine oil. Oil dilution will result in thinning of oil, and you will left with a substance that you hadn’t intended to lubricate the engine with.
By making the right choice for ring materials, coatings and heat treatment can help in getting the best from an engine. There are many sources to avail information that will explain you about what works well. For a bespoke race engine, engineer has a free option. The most common choice available to several people is whether to use steel or cast iron.
For high-performance race engines, engineers can consider steel. However, cast iron material can be more durable in specific situations even if it has graphite at the surface. Steel rings need more oil as compared to a cast iron piston ring.
The choice of steels used for making piston rings in engines varies from lower strength to highly alloyed steel tools. Piston rings fabricated from the steel grades with higher strength are used for more intricate applications.
While manufacturers also prefer simple steel materials of varying strength levels for piston rings, it is usual for piston rings to be surface engineered to offer enhanced sealing performance and wear behavior. In the racing applications, they use nitrided steel rings. The both methods of gas nitriding and plasma nitriding methods are used by manufacturers to give the hard surface layer.
Tool steel piston rings are used at places where the material durability is not enough. Tool steels combine wear resistance and toughness with great strength. With these qualities, engineers are able to specify ever-smaller piston rings without sacrificing longevity of the engine.
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