The importance of surface engineering for automotive components operating in areas with limited lubrication
Piston rings, skirts and pins are often coated with hard wearing, low friction coatings to aid initial running-in followed by long-life performance. This is due to the lower oil lubrication levels.
Preventing friction in low lubrication areas associated with cold engine starts and the reduced amount of lubricant permitted to reach the combustion chamber. The use of ceramic coatings to provide thermal insulation of piston crowns, particularly in diesel engines, is increasing and high temperature thermal spray or vacuum application methods can be used. The mating cylinder linings can be coated with electrolytic or electroless plated composite finishes incorporating hard particles of silicon carbide, diamond or boron nitride. Vacuum deposited diamond-like coatings are also employed which are designed to reduce wear and lower friction. The particular engine design and performance requirements influence the design engineer’s choice.
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