Article ID: CBB001201530

Design and Development of Exhaust Valves for Internal Combustion Engines from the Perspective of Modern Thinking: Part 2 1930--90 (2014)


The changes in high temperature materials for exhaust valves resulted from the development of the engine fuels. Ricardo and Midgley were the early pioneers of fuel improvement, but later on Houdry and Pines invented processes for upgrading straight run gasoline. None of the early alloys used for valves was specifically invented for that purpose. Marsh developed nickel-based alloys for a thermopile; Haynes, the Stellite series of cobalt alloys as ultrahard and corrosion-resistant materials; Brearley 12Cr martensitic stainless steels for erosion resistant gun barrels. In the 1920s, the automotive sector began to use Silchrome, which had good resistance to non-leaded fuels. However it was barely adequate in aero engines, and this stimulated the invention of sodium-cooled valves by Heron. Fuels containing tetraethyl lead, invented by Midgley, became standard during the 1930s, but lead from the combustion process was highly corrosive to Silchrome. A British austenitic alloy, KE965, proved to be much better, but during WWII this had to be given high nickel coatings. The Americans developed a material similar to KE965, but for high output radial engines used Inconel M and Stellite coatings. The post-war era has been dominated by the automotive sector. Low nickel austenitics superseded KE965, but Silchrome is still in use for inlet valves. Zero lead fuels caused problems with `valve seat recession' which has been overcome by induction hardening of cast iron seats, or by incorporating seat inserts. High performance cars have adopted Inconel and Nimonic alloys and sodium cooling, but lightweight titanium alloys are being used to give the ultimate in capability. Keywords: poppet valves, IC engine fuels, Silchrome, KE965, Stellite, nickel-based alloys, sodium cooled valves, exhaust valve corrosion, valve seat recession

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Authors & Contributors
Eisler, Matthew Nicholas
Firsov, Alexander
Pyne, Stephen J.
Downer, John Richard
Lemco, Ian
Cater, John
Research in the History of Technology
Social Studies of Science
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Technology and Culture
Science as Culture
Association for Preservation Technology International Bulletin
Merrell Publishers
MIT Press
University of Alberta (Canada)
University of Pennsylvania
Combustion; fire
Engineering, aeronautical
Fuels and fuel technology
Loutzky, Boris
Wittgenstein, Ludwig
Bacon, Francis Thomas
Le Corbusier
Lutzky, Boris
Albert Kahn
United States
Great Britain
Hamburg (Germany)
20th century, early
20th century, late
19th century
20th century
21st century
Federal Aviation Administration
University of Manchester
Fiat (firm)

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