Abstract :

Pistons are considered as one of the most complex components of automotive engines. They are largely produced from aluminum reinforced with expensive particles such as graphite, TiC, B4C and SiC. To reduce the cost of reinforcement and minimize waste disposal challenges, it is sine-qua-non to consider production of piston materials from local sources. In this paper, we report development of piston materials from discarded aluminum pistons reinforced with alumina and snail-shells. Discarded motorcycle pistons, collected in Ogbomoso South West Nigeria, were melted and then reinforced with alumina and snailshells at different proportion based on D-Optimal approach of Design of Experiment. The mixtures were then re-cast, and a few numbers of mechanical tests (hardness, tensile strength, wear, composition, corrosion, fatigue, impact, SEM and XRD) were carried out to optimize the effect of reinforcing material. The optimal tensile strength, hardness and Young modulus for aluminum alloy reinforced with alumina and snail-shells (75, 5, 20 wt. %) were 166.16 MPa, 120.47 MPa and 20.59 GPa, respectively. However, the tensile, hardness strength and Young modulus for samples made from new aluminum pistons are 47.48 MPa, 78.41 MPa, and 9.804 GPa, respectively. The wear rate of aluminum alloy reinforced with alumina and snail-shells was 0.036 mm3/Nm compared to 0.57 mm3/Nm for new piston. This study has shown that alumina and snailshells can improve mechanical properties of aluminum piston for various uses in engineering material.