Innovative Al Alloys for High Performance Automotive Pistons: Enhancement of Specific Strength at High Temperature and Resistance to Knock Damage

Balducci, Eleonora (2019) Innovative Al Alloys for High Performance Automotive Pistons: Enhancement of Specific Strength at High Temperature and Resistance to Knock Damage, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Meccanica e scienze avanzate dell'ingegneria, 31 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/9012.
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The increasingly strict regulations on greenhouse gas emissions make the fuel economy a pressing factor for automotive manufacturers. Lightweighting and engine downsizing are two strategies pursued to achieve the target. In this context, materials play a key role since these limit the engine efficiency and components weight, due to their acceptable thermo-mechanical loads. Piston is one of the most stressed engine components and it is traditionally made of Al alloys, whose weakness is to maintain adequate mechanical properties at high temperature due to overaging and softening. The enhancement in strength-to-weight ratio at high temperature of Al alloys had been investigated through two approaches: increase of strength at high temperature or reduction of the alloy density. Several conventional and high performance Al-Si and Al-Cu alloys have been characterized from a microstructural and mechanical point of view, investigating the effects of chemical composition, addition of transition elements and heat treatment optimization, in the specific temperature range for pistons operations. Among the Al-Cu alloys, the research outlines the potentialities of two innovative Al-Cu-Li(-Ag) alloys, typically adopted for structural aerospace components. Moreover, due to the increased probability of abnormal combustions in high performance spark-ignition engines, the second part of the dissertation deals with the study of knocking damages on Al pistons. Thanks to the cooperation with Ferrari S.p.A. and Fluid Machinery Research Group - Unibo, several bench tests have been carried out under controlled knocking conditions. Knocking damage mechanisms were investigated through failure analyses techniques, starting from visual analysis up to detailed SEM investigations. These activities allowed to relate piston knocking damage to engine parameters, with the final aim to develop an on-board knocking controller able to increase engine efficiency, without compromising engine functionality. Finally, attempts have been made to quantify the knock-induced damages, to provide a numerical relation with engine working conditions.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Balducci, Eleonora
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Al alloys, Automotive Piston, High Temperature, Overaging, Knock
Data di discussione
15 Marzo 2019

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