With the increase of combustion loading and the trend to reduce engine size, there is a need for thinner but stronger wet cylinder liners. While most of the current cylinder liners are made of gray cast iron, due to its good tribological behavior, machinability performance, and competitive price, alternative casting materials such as compact graphite iron, ductile iron, and even steel are being considered to address future engine demands. In this paper, a new ductile iron (DI) cast material for wet cylinder liners is presented. The material has about 60 and 70% higher limits, respectively, for tensile stress and fatigue resistance as compared to conventional gray cast irons, but without a penalty on the tribological properties. There is also a potential improvement to avoid cavitation on the outside surface due to its higher young modulus, which also equates to a higher stiffness.
The tested cylinder liners were induction hardened on the running surface and a slide hone process was used to improve wear and scuffing resistance. The liners were tested in a heavy duty diesel (HDD) engine with a peak cylinder pressure (PCP) of 245 bar and showed similar wear as observed with conventional cylinder liners of gray cast iron material. The DI cylinder liners were also tested in an abusive scuffing engine test without any concern. The improved mechanical properties of the described new DI material introduce possibilities to reduce the liner wall thickness or increase specific output. The preliminary evaluation in this paper showed that this new material is feasible for HDD diesel engines with a PCP up to 250 bar. In cases where the customer needs to increase the bore diameter for output reasons there is the potential to reduce the liner wall thickness by up to 25% based on high mechanical properties (UTS, Young’s modulus and fatigue strength). In both cases, a FEA analysis to support the new component design is recommended.