Shuhai Huo and William Heath
High fuel cost is putting more pressure on automotive makers to further improve fuel efficiency. The direct weight reduction is regarded as one of the most economical options for improving the fuel efficiency. Direct replacement of some heavier steel engine components with lighter powder metallurgy aluminum components not only reduces weight but also reduces the moment of inertia of the moving parts, leading to lower fuel consumption and potential performance improvement. This study discusses potential weight savings by using the aluminum, examines typical mechanical properties of sintered powder metallurgy aluminum materials in comparison with cast aluminum and steels as well as recent development in potential applications of the sintered aluminum components for automotive valve-train applications.
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