Fatigue of Heavy-Vehicle Engine Materials : Experimental Analysis and Life Estimation
Abstract: The heavy-vehicle automotive industry is constantly subjected to higher demands. In particular, new European emission standards are formulated with the intention of improving the environmental friendliness of newly-produced vehicles through reduced exhaust emission. In one way or another, this implies a successive improvement of the engine efficiency, which in turn, inevitably will require a higher combustion pressure and temperature. This is a respectable challenge for future engine constructions, but also for the engineering materials used to embody them. As higher thermal and mechanical loads must be sustained, there is a higher rate of wear, and consequently, a negative effect on the extent of the engine lifetime.The aim of the present thesis is to confront the expected increase in rate of wear, henceforth referred to as fatigue, by studying the effect on materials typically employed in heavy-vehicle engines, namely cast irons. Foremost, the intention has been to improve the understanding of the physical mechanisms of fatigue in these materials, in order to develop a lifetime estimation method designated to assist the mechanical design of heavy-vehicle engines.In essence, a large set of thermo-mechanical fatigue (TMF) and combined thermo-mechanical and high-cycle fatigue (TMF-HCF) tests has been conducted at engine load conditions on laboratory specimens of lamellar, compacted and spheroidal graphite irons. In this way, these three different material groups have been experimentally compared and the associated fatigue mechanism has been studied. In particular, a new property related to TMF-HCF conditions has been identified and measured, . Regarding the fatigue mechanism, it has been affirmed to consist of the initiation, propagation and coalescence of numerous microcracks. Based on this, a successful lifetime assessment model was formulated, allowing good estimations of the fatigue life of laboratory specimens subjected to both TMF and TMF-HCF conditions.
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