Topics: Tensile strength, Cast iron, Internal combustion engine Pages: 16 (3548 words) Published: December 25, 2013
Manufacturing Processes and Engineering Materials Used in Automotive Engine Blocks


Hieu Nguyen

School of Engineering
Grand Valley State University

Term Paper

EGR250 – Materials Science and Engineering
Section B

Instructor: Dr. P. N. Anyalebechi

April 8, 2005

Manufacturing Processes and Engineering Materials Used in Automotive Engine Blocks


Until recently, cast iron and aluminum alloys have been the preferential materials used to manufacture most diesel and conventional gasoline-powered engine blocks. However, with a greater emphasis on increasing the efficiency of the engine via weight reduction, manufacturers have began to look for alternative alloys that are lighter than cast iron and aluminum alloys, while retaining the necessary strength to withstand the forces of an engine. As of late, new manufacturing processes have been developed that have engendered two new alloys suitable for use in an engine block, magnesium alloy AMC-SC1 and compacted graphite cast iron (CGI). In this paper, the functional requirements of the engine block, the processes used to manufacture the part, and the mechanical properties of the alloys will be discussed.

1. Introduction

The first successfully working internal combustion engine used in an automobile was built by Siegfried Marcus in approximately 1864 [1]. It was an upright single-cylinder, twostroke petroleum-fueled engine that also utilized a carburetor to deliver fuel to the engine. The engine was placed on a cart with four wheels and successfully ran under its own power. Not only has Marcus produced the first engine that is the direct predecessor to today’s engines, he had also built the first automobile in history, some 20 years before Gottlieb Daimler’s automobile.

Today’s engines are an integral component of an automobile that are built in a number of configurations and are considerably more complex than early automotive engines. Technological innovations such as electronic fuel injection, drive-by-wire (i.e., computercontrolled) throttles, and cylinder-deactivation have made engines more efficient and powerful. The use of lighter and stronger engineering materials to manufacture various components of the engine has also had an impact; it has allowed engineers to increase the power-to-weight of the engine, and thus the automobile.


Common components found in an engine include pistons, camshafts, timing chains, rocker arms, and other various parts. When fully stripped of all components, the core of the engine can be seen: the cylinder block. The cylinder block (popularly known as the engine block) is the strongest component of an engine that provides much of the housing for the hundreds of parts found in a modern engine. Since it is also a relatively large component, it constitutes 20-25% of the total weight of an engine [2]. Thus there is much interest in reducing the block’s weight.

Many early engine blocks were manufactured from cast iron alloys primarily due to its high strength and low cost. But, as engine designs became more complicated, the weight of the engine (and the vehicle) had increased. Consequently, the desire among manufacturers to use lighter alloys that were as strong as cast irons arose. One such material that was being used as a substitute was aluminum alloys. Used sparingly in the 1930’s (due to problems with durability) [3], aluminum alloy use in engine blocks increased during the 1960’s and 1970’s as a way to increase fuel efficiency and performance. Together, these two metals were used exclusively to fabricate engine blocks. As of late, however, a new material process has made a magnesium alloy suitable for use in engines. The alloy, called AMC-SC1, weighs less than both cast iron and aluminum alloys and represents new possibilities in engine manufacturing.

A new

manufacturing process have made compacted graphite cast iron (CGI) a viable alternative to gray cast iron for the manufacture of...

References: 11. Mortimer, John: “New process widens use of iron-block diesels,” Automotive News Europe,
July 12, 2004.
14. “Corvette V8 Comparison,” [Online], 2002-2004 copyright, Available: http://www.funcomotorsports.com/v8_comparison.htm.
Bettles, C. et al., “AMC-SC1: A New Magnesium Alloy Suitable for Powertrain
Applications,” Society of Automotive Engineers, 2003, p
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