Wear of diesel engine inlet valves and seats
Valve wear has been a serious problem to engine designers and manufacturers for many years. Although new valve materials and production techniques are constantly being developed, these advances have been outpaced by demands for increased engine performance. The drive for reduced oil consumption and exhaust emissions, the phasing out of leaded petrol, reductions in the sulphur content of diesel fuel and the introduction of alternative fuels such as gas all have implications for valve and seat insert wear. The aim of the project has been, through the use of a representative bench test and engine testing, to diagnose the predominant wear mechanisms in diesel engine inlet valves and seats. This information was then to be used with other test data to develop a model for predicting valve recession and other tools to assist in solving valve failure problems. Test apparatus has been developed that is capable of providing a simulation of the wear of both inlet valves and seats used in automotive diesel engines. Investigations carried out using the apparatus have shown that the valve and seat wear problem involves two distinct mechanisms; impact of the valve on the seat insert on valve closure and sliding of the valve on the seat under the action of the combustion pressure. Wear has been shown to increase with valve closing velocity, combustion load and misalignment of the valve relative to the seat. Lubrication of the valve/seat interface leads to a significant reduction in valve recession. Valve rotation ensures even wear and promotes debris removal from the valve/seat interface. During testing it was established that resistance to impact was the key seat material property determining the amount of recession that occurred. A semi-empirical wear model for predicting valve recession has been developed based on the fundamental mechanisms of wear determined during test work. Model predictions were compared with engine tests and tests run on the bench test-rig. The model can be used to give a quantitative prediction of the valve recession to be expected with a particular material pair or a qualitative assessment of how parameters need to be altered in order to reduce recession. Flow charts have also been developed, based on the review of literature, failure analysis and modelling carried out, to assist in diagnosing and rectifying valve/seat failures and to help in reducing valve recession by design. The test apparatus, valve recession model and design tools can be integrated into an industrial environment in order to help reduce costs and timescales involved in solving valve/seat wear problems using the current trial and error methods.