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Navy

Centrifugal Casting Improved Aluminum Engine Cylinders

Centrifugal casting of aluminum engine cylinders increased metal hardness while mitigating strength losses

Materials
Centrifugal Cast Aluminum
Centrifugal Cast Aluminum

The Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division (NSWCCD) has developed, prototyped, and patented a cost-effective method of creating aluminum engine cylinders with better physical characteristics, longer life, and improved performance. The centrifugal casting technique incorporates silicon monoxide (SiO) into molten aluminum alloy to create a harder inner surface.

Silicon monoxide is considerably harder than aluminum and the aluminum alloys typically used in engine cylinders. It also has a lower specific gravity than liquid aluminum, melts at a much higher temperature than aluminum, and does not dissolve in or react with aluminum. Because of these properties, SiO remains solid and moves to the inner surface when injected into molten aluminum in a centrifugal casting system. The result is a 1-5mm zone where the SiO is concentrated with aluminum/aluminum alloy. The presence of the SiO increases wear resistance, but the mixing with aluminum helps overcome strength losses inherent in other techniques that insert harder materials into aluminum.

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