MIT Researches Piston Ring Design

Internal combustion engine improvements are suggested by a model developed by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Dana Corp. Their focus was on the combustion seal provided by the three piston rings. For a given engine design and operating conditions, the model describes how the rings move; how much friction and wear occur as they meet other metal surfaces; and how much lubricating oil escapes into the combustion chamber. The model helped define a new friction-reducing shape for the grooves in which the rings are mounted. The researchers were also able to identify a type of ring behavior that may contribute significantly to oil consumption. The MIT team is led by Dr. Victor Wong and Professor John Heywood.

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