Ford Motor Company has filed a patent for a new kind of cylinder head design that could help significantly when it comes to cost cutting and lightweighting. The application for the patent describes a cylinder head that would be made mainly from polymer composite instead of metal, thus helping the company to save on cost of raw materials and manufacturing without compromising safety.
Some parts of the cylinder head would continue to be made of metal including what the patent application calls an “internal metal structure” which would be made of cast iron. This could include the upper combustion chambers, combustion chamber inserts, fire deck, engine coolant ports, and oil drain ports. These parts would be enveloped by a polymer composite structure that could contain oil feeds for the hydraulic valve lash adjusters and the spark plug/fuel injector pockets. The polymer that is used might be further reinforced by using a fiber material such as carbon fiber, aramid fiber, glass fiber, or other alternatives.
This is not the first attempt to innovate when it comes to cylinder head material. Ford mentions in the patent application that at least two patents have been granted for designs that use a hybrid of metal and ceramic. The difference between these prior designs and Ford’s is that they had limited peak thermal and pressure carrying capabilities as ceramic materials cannot be molded around a metal skeleton of the cylinder head. Ford proposes to solve this by using a fiber-reinforced polymer and thus the cheaper and lighter Ford cylinder heads could deliver all the benefits of iron, including greater tensile strength and lower thermal expansion.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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