Pistons 101

The piston is one of the most highly stressed components in an engine and those stresses really go up when engine performance is pushed to the max.  In many cases the piston is the limiting factor in the engine’s performance potential.  No other component has to run so close to its melting point and still withstand the tremendous thermal and mechanical loading imposed by the combustion and reciprocating processes so there are many design considerations to be properly executed in order to have a truly successful design.  The piston system is one of the biggest sources of friction in an engine so that alone is a big opportunity for performance improvement but the piston is also a seal and sometimes a valve so minimizing power losses from leakage (blow-by) past the piston rings is another opportunity to improve performance.  Finally, the surfaces of the piston that interact with the combustion gases can influence the combustion process and provide opportunities to make more efficient use of the fuel charge to increase fuel economy, decrease exhaust gas emissions and increase power.  The piston is a unique component that actually becomes more durable as we optimize its performance potential because all the things we do to reduce friction, blow-by and combustion losses will improve efficiency and actually decrease piston temperature which improves its mechanical properties and improves lubrication.  We will soon add a tech blog section to address some of the specific areas of technology that we focus on for total system optimization.  The objective of the tech blog is to help you understand why we do what we do and also to help you create a solid foundation for our products to perform in.  It is important to us that our customers get the most out of our products and we would like to share some of our engine design and development experience to help you prepare your engines to the highest level possible.  We will continuously add new topics to the tech blog over time so please check for updates and feel free to suggest any sections that may be of interest.