Automakers Rely on Steel Performance for World's Ten Best Engines

Automakers Rely on Steel Performance for World's Ten Best Engines

Results from a new study show that automakers rely extensively on steel for strength, durability, mass efficiency and cost-effectiveness in their high-performance engines. The study, which focused on the use of steel in the Ten Best Engines for 2004 named by Ward's AutoWorld magazine, was conducted by automotive design engineering consultant Alan Hine. It addresses materials use in crankshafts, flywheels, connecting rods, rockers, drive chains, valves and valve springs, cam followers, variable timing systems, and fasteners. AISI's Long Products Market Development Group sponsored the study.

"In all cases, engine manufacturers cite high performance, durability, and weight reduction as the main factors for their engine design approach," said David Anderson, AISI's director of long products programs. The use of steel results in structurally efficient components and a reduction in NVH (Noise/Vibration/Harshness), he noted. "The lighter reciprocating mass generates less noise and vibration, making for a smoother-running engine," Anderson explained. "This also helps in reducing the secondary stresses in the engine, thus minimizing component fatigue and failure, as well as warranty problems."

The study demonstrates OEM recognition that—with power curves of engines continually increasing and the mass continually being reduced—the need for quality steel components is now a necessity. For a copy of the study, please visit www.autosteel.org.