The Mighty Humble Piston & Recent Developments!


Diesel engines are nothing without a piston.  Piston, a simple reciprocating component, which helps in compression and thus ignition and thereby transfer the combustion gas load onto the crankshaft to turn the propeller.

As the engine design moves more towards optimizing Pmax and electronic controls, a very little has been achieved when it comes to piston design.  As a result, the mighty piston is subjected to heavy gas loads and other troubles.  As the engine sophistication continues to increase, so too does the complexity of modern piston.


In a nutshell, a modern engine is boosted, it runs hotter, and tend to be smaller.  This write up covers a recent development where Federal Mogul is developing a new internal piston cooling technology.

A sealed-in piston cooling system under development by Federal Mogul could enable higher running temperatures, greater energy efficiency and reduced cooling oil costs for marine four-stroke engines.

A new steel piston, Monosteel EnviroKool, features an integral cooling gallery filled with coolant liquid and inert gas and sealed with a welded plug.  The cooling system, which lasts the lifetime of the piston, is expected to enable the piston to run at engine temperatures of more than 100°C higher than current limits.


(Image Source: Motor Ship)

Keri Westbrooke, director engineering & technology, Federal Mogul Powertrain, explained that higher temperature engine running would improve energy efficiency by up to 5% (in conjunction with waste heat recovery).  Cooling oil costs can also be reduced by around 50% and piston condition improved, he added.

“The prolonged exposure of engine oil to higher temperatures in the piston oil cooling gallery [in current piston designs] leads to degradation and carbon build-up, reducing the cooling efficiency and leading to overheating.”

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