A recent report on www.foundrymag.com "New Alloy Promises Lower Emissions in High-Performance Engines" referred to a new aluminium alloy developed by NASA. Will this development affect SinterCast?


Shareholder, name withheld

The article refers to a new aluminium alloy developed for piston head applications. It is three-to-four times stronger (the article doesn’t specify what type of strength: tensile, compression, bending or fatigue) than conventional aluminium at 315°C and can be manufactured for less than USD 1.00 per pound (EUR 0.47/kg).

As the alloy was specifically developed for piston heads, and as piston heads have different property requirements than cylinder blocks or cylinder heads, it is unlikely that the alloy would also be optimal for cylinder block and head applications. The most significant restriction of cast aluminium is its fatigue strength. Aluminium has approximately three-times lower fatigue strength than CGI at 20°C (70-75 MPa vs. 190-210 MPa for rotating bending fatigue), but it has six-to-ten times lower fatigue strength (20-30 MPa) at 250°C. Even if this new aluminium alloy is three-to-four times stronger than conventional aluminium at 315°C, it will still have less than half of the fatigue strength of CGI. It will also be approximately twice as expensive as CGI on a price-per-kg basis.

New developments will continue to be made, but CGI is in a very strong position. It has already passed the development challenges and it is accepted as a production-ready material.