The cylinder block is the largest part of an engine. It generally consists of two sections, with the upper section carrying the cylinder and pistons, while the lower section normally forms the crankcase and also supports the crankshaft. All cylinder blocks are made with ribs, webs and fillets to provide rigidity but also keep the overall engine weight to a minimum.
Cylinder blocks are normally made from cast iron or from aluminum. The ones made from aluminum are comparatively lighter but also less sturdy than blocks made from cast iron. However, with the present day trend of lighter engines, cylinder blocks made from aluminum are being preferred by a lot of engine manufacturers, with the addition of cylinder liners to provide the requisite sturdiness.
Cylinder Blocks: An Overview of It's Development
Every machine enthusiast would recall that the major parts of an engine such as cylinder head, coolant passages, intake and exhaust passages are distinct from one another. During then early years of internal combustion engines, all the aforementioned distinct parts were bolted together, thus making the engine work.
However, with the passage of time and evolution of the designing process, a much more efficient way of engine manufacturing became the norm, that process was integrating multiple machine elements into one discrete part and combining multiple elements in one setup. The foremost example of this process is the manufacture of cylinder blocks.
Today cylinder blocks are used in almost all engines and in every type of vehicle, be it buses, tractors, cars etc.
Applicable Casting Processes for Cylinder Blocks
For the manufacture of cylinder blocks, a multitude of casting processes can be used. These are,
High pressure die casting
Gravity die casting
Low pressure die casting
Lost foam process
Three Most Favored Cylinder Blocks
V Engine Cylinder Block – Perhaps the most popular cylinder block,comes in many iterations and is used in a wide range of vehicles from Cadillac to simple motorcycles.
Inline Engine Cylinder Block – Ideal for small displacement engines and is used in a lot of small and medium sized passenger cars.
Boxer Engine Cylinder Blocks – Probably the most advanced of all cylinder blocks. These are used in high end racing vehicles such as Porsche, Ferrari etc.