Recent in Two-stroke engine development for marine applications mainly deal with better and increased overall efficiency hereby reducing the CO2 emissions. Besides a mechanical design change the service conditions play a major role in enhanced efficiency. The so increased engine parameters with higher maximum pressure during combustion will inevitable increase the load on the bearings of the reciprocating parts. Since an increase in the bearing area is not possible due to the engine design parameters the object is to increase the specific load bearing capability of the bearing alloy while keeping the tribological benevolence. In particular, the fatigue properties and the strength of the used tin based alloys, commonly known as whitemetals or babbitts.
This class of alloys stands out due to its emergency running capabilities, embedability and its high flexibility under edge load. Existing Al-based alloys like AlSn40 have improved fatigue properties but they fall behind on the named essential properties. Also, the dimensions of the AlSn40 bearings are limited due to the roll bonding process by which they are produced. On the other hand spin casting as standard production process of Babbitt bearings is limiting the alloying elements due to centrifugal segregation while solidification of the lining alloy. While tin based alloys are used in an environment of 90°C the homologue temperature is 0,7 which means that classic strengthening mechanisms like work-hardening and grain size effects are only shortly employable. Another restricting fact is the requirement of solid solubility for solid solution strengthening which also includes precipitation hardening. Hence there is a limited amount of elements dissolvable and not environmentally hazardous in tin this mechanism is already used to its maximum in the standard babbitts.
In this paper a possible way to circumvent these limits will be presented. The use of high melting elements, compared to Sn, like Co, Ni, Mn, Al and Zn which are partly dissolvable in molten Sn, where used to improve the microstructure and therefor the overall performance of the bearing alloy.
These trace elements serve as grain refinement for the primary precipitation of SbSn and CuSn during solidification. The high melting point of these elements anticipates relaxing processes in the alloy caused by diffusion at the high homologue temperature. Due to the smaller precipitations and the finer structure a better performance can be seen during tests. This leads in a higher strength while maintaining its ductility. Alternate bending tests as well as specific bearing test runs show a significant better fatigue, wear and embedability performance than standard alloys.