Cosworth Strengthens Piston Performance with Materion


Global technology company Cosworth has expanded its industry-leading range of pistons through a collaboration with advanced materials supplier, Materion, that sees Cosworth produce and machine Metal Matrix Composite (MMC) pistons for the automotive world. 

Cosworth’s MMC pistons have already helped to deliver superlative performance in the all-new Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 supercar, which V12 boasts 12,000rpm and produces the highest specific output of any road-going naturally aspirated engine at 166 PS-per-litre. 

Cosworth Materion

Cosworth’s wealth of knowledge and experience in piston development and manufacture has long positioned the company as the first port-of-call for many leading OE manufacturers.

With increasing demand for high-level components, the company took steps to ensure that its reputation was strengthened with state-of-the-art solutions. 

Working with Materion, Cosworth’s move to Metal Matrix Composites has allowed the company to move away from the traditional metal billets, forgings and castings that are not suited to the demands of tomorrow’s high-performance engines. 

Materion’s SupremEX® composite combines ultrafine silicon carbide reinforcement with aerospace aluminium alloys.

The result is a composite that is superior to conventional alloys, combining the lightweight properties of aluminium with outstanding strength and stiffness. 

SupremEX pistons can be used to replace aluminium, titanium, steel and other structural alloys and composites.

The specific stiffness of SupremEX exceeds that of other piston materials by at least 40%, allowing for a significant reduction in reciprocating mass. 

The reinforced structure of MMC pistons minimises wear at critical interfaces, compared to conventional aluminium piston alloys, for example, and offers a 25% lower coefficient of thermal expansion.

This in turn allows tighter control of piston to liner clearance reducing piston slap, blow-by-oil carry over and crevice volume, providing increased efficiency. 

Higher working temperatures and combustion pressures can be achieved due to greater fatigue resistance (at running temperatures, more than double that of conventional aluminium alloys), with lower coefficient of friction and increased wear resistance contributing to improved combustion efficiency, brake specific fuel consumption and hydro-carbon emissions.