Federal Mogul Holdings Corporation, better known as FDML, has come up with two piston skirt coatings: EcoTough –New Generation meant for gasoline run engines and EcoTough-D meant for diesel run engines. With the company innovating constantly, these new offerings come with improved formulation to reduce the friction and wear and tear in engines, helping it to tackle the varying temperatures and extreme conditions it has to operate in, especially for the downsized and turbo-charged engines.
Gian Maria Olivetti, the Chief Technology Officer of Federal Mogul Powertrain said that their main motive is to reduce the frictional losses by leveraging on their expertise on material. With their new range of EcoTough coatings, the durability of pistons are set to improve, thereby increasing the life of piston even in conditions where there is a high thermal and mechanical load in the present day engines that are efficient.
The solutions for gasoline and diesel engines differ greatly, mainly due to the relative difference in their combustion loads, geometry of piston and the lubricity of the fuels. They have worked on these differences and come up with specific coatings for each type of engine. The new generation of EcoTough coatings comprise of metal oxide-reinforced resin along with solid lubricant particles that are embedded. This coating is applied for a thickness of 15 microns and the wear and tear comes down by a whopping 40% over other coatings, improving the reliability of the piston even in extreme conditions. It also reduces the friction in piston by over 15% when compared to the standard coatings available in the market, which results in an improved efficiency of the engine.
The EcoTough range of coatings, which were developed after extensive rig testing, are now undergoing validation checks by automobile manufacturers before they will be used commercially. EcoTough coatings are compatible both with aluminum and steel diesel pistons for commercial and passenger vehicles. Federal Mogul leveraged on the fact that diesel has better lubricity and the structural stiffness of diesel pistons are more, which enabled them to formulate the coatings accordingly. They also reinforced a polymer based coating with short length carbon fibers which comprised of embedded graphite that constituted to be a solid lubricant in EcoTough-D. This brought the friction in piston down by 35% when compared to conventional coatings. The water resistance of the coating saw a 30% improvement.
Almost 17% of the frictional losses in the engine arise only due to the piston skirt and piston pin, as per Dr. Frank T.H. Dornenburg, who leads the Technology department for Pistons at FDML. In a bid to reduce the friction and wear of piston skirt and cylinder surfaces, skirt coatings have proved to be effective and have also helped in achieving the interrelated targets. The application of coatings can be done using an automated and large scale production process, which will result in lower costs.
An Overview of Federal Mogul
Federal Mogul is an established company worldwide and supplies products and services to different automobile manufacturers and servicers from all over the world of all light, medium, heavy-duty and commercial, marine, rails, aerospace, power generation and industrial sector of markets. With the constant innovation at Federal Mogul, automobiles have been able to achieve better fuel economy, lower emission levels and better safety levels.
There are two independent lines of businesses at FDML run by two different CEOs, who directly report to the Board of Directors.
FDML manufactures components suited for automotive, heavy-duty, and industrial and transport applications. There are over 20 recognized brands in the global automobile aftermarket that are sold by Federal Mogul which include braking, wipers and different chassis components.
It was started in 1899 in Detroit and is headquartered in Southfield, Michigan. There are over 53,000 employees worldwide on its payroll.
One of the premier consultants in the field of engineering and environment, Ricardo, will be collaborating with Gas Technology Institute (GTI) in two different projects to develop natural gas engines. This collaboration is in a bid to develop engines that are low on emission levels and can be used as alternatives for diesel engines used in the case of medium and heavy duty commercial vehicles that frequently ply on the highways of California.
Generally, engines that run on diesel emit high levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx), greenhouse gases and particulate matter of diesel. As per reports from the California Air Resources Board, the mandatory air quality standards will be exceeded within 2031 in South Coast Basin if the emissions of NOx do not drop by 90% when compared to the present day standards.
As a part of the first project, Ricardo is planning to test two different ignition systems: one which is a high frequency discharge and the other is a pulsed nano plasma engine, with the intent to assess the effect it has on the performance of engines. They will also provide the support required for GTI to develop ultra-low emission natural gas engines for medium sized to heavy duty trucks. Presently, these types of vehicles are among the top 10 contributors for NOx emissions in the South Coast Air Basin.
They will continue to remain one of the largest emitters of NOx until the entire fleet is replaced by vehicles that adhere to the 2010 emission norms. Both the projects will also be sponsored by the Southern California Gas Co.
As per the President of Ricardo, Clive Wotton, the medium and heavy duty trucks cannot be electrified or hybridized like how SUVs and other passengers have been done. Thus, by using natural gas as an alternative for these transport trucks, it would at least be a step closer towards reducing the NOx emissions.
By developing an ultra low emission natural has engine that emits 90% lower NOx than the current trends, the emission levels will be equivalent to that of an electric heavy duty vehicle including the emission involved in generating the electricity required to power the vehicle.