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Piston skirt coatings increase durability for the life of pistons

04 April 2016

Federal-Mogul Powertrain introduced two innovative piston skirt coatings, EcoTough-New Generation (for gasoline engines) and EcoTough-D (for diesel engines).

The EcoTough-New Generation skirt coating addresses the increasingly tough requirements of highly efficient engines.

Building on the proven performance of previous EcoTough coatings, the new formulations further reduce engine friction, wear and noise while dealing with the increasingly challenging loads and temperatures that exist in the latest downsized, turbocharged engines. 

“Reducing frictional losses by applying materials expertise is a critical element of Federal-Mogul Powertrain’s work with engine manufacturers,” commented Gian Maria Olivetti, Chief Technology Officer, Federal-Mogul Powertrain. “Our new EcoTough piston skirt coatings have the increased durability necessary to perform for the life of the piston under the greater thermal and mechanical loads created by the latest generation of highly efficient engines.”

Gasoline and diesel engines require alternative solutions because of important differences in their relative combustion loads, piston geometry and the lubricity of their respective fuels. Federal-Mogul Powertrain has accommodated these differences by formulating specific coatings, each optimised for either gasoline or diesel application.

EcoTough-New Generation coating is a metal oxide-reinforced resin with additional embedded solid lubricant particles. The coating, which is applied in a thickness of 15 microns, reduces skirt wear in gasoline engines by up to 40 percent compared to the market standard and offers improved fatigue strength under extremely harsh conditions. It also delivers piston friction reduction gains of up to 15 percent compared to standard coatings, directly improving the efficiency of the base engine.

Passenger car steel piston with the new Federal-Mogul Powertrain EcoTough-D skirt coating for diesel applications

Following extensive rig testing and engine-based development, sample pistons with the EcoTough-New Generation coating are currently completing validation programs with vehicle manufacturers.

EcoTough-D has been developed for both aluminium and steel diesel pistons, in passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Taking advantage of the greater structural stiffness of diesel pistons and the superior lubricity of diesel fuel, Federal-Mogul Powertrain was able to specify a different formulation and deliver greater improvement in friction levels. A polymer-based coating reinforced with short carbon fibres and containing graphite embedded as a solid lubricant, EcoTough-D reduces piston friction by as much as 35 percent compared to conventional coatings in the market. Wear resistance is also improved by up to 30 percent.

“The piston skirt and piston pin alone account for around 17 percent of the frictional losses in an engine,” said Dr. Frank T.H. Dörnenburg, Head of Technology, Global Pistons at Federal-Mogul Powertrain. “Skirt coatings have proved to be an effective way of meeting the interrelated targets of reduced friction and wear between piston skirt and cylinder surfaces, used in combination with optimum piston clearance and skirt geometry. Application of the piston skirt coatings using a fully automated, large-scale production process means that the wear and friction properties can be achieved within economical cost targets.”


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