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Automotive Alloys Whitepaper


High performance alloys improve engine performance when used to make crucial parts such as piston rings, valve guides and valve seats. For more than 30 years, Materion has been supplying alloys to the racing industry, but no data quantifying the benefits of these materials have been made widely available -- until now.

Commissioned by Materion, GE Precision Engineering Ltd. researched available material options, then performed computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations and single cylinder engine dynamometer testing.

In this whitepaper, you will:

  • learn about maximizing BMEP
  • discover key factors for selecting materials
  • gain insights from heat transfer analysis

If you have questions about the research, or would like to learn more about the range of high performance alloys made by Materion, please email


Internal combustion engine designers often focus on increasing power density, whether to maintain performance while downsizing, or to maximize performance in a given displacement. Engine performance is limited by the ability to extract heat from the combustion chamber while accommodating a related increase in pressure. Overheating of critical parts such as pistons and valves can result in engine malfunction as well as premature wear or even catastrophic component failure. 

In this paper, several copper-based alloys were evaluated for their heat-extraction capabilities as valve seats, valve guides and piston top rings. Modeling predicted meaningful reductions in piston, valve and cylinder head temperatures, and the most promising candidate materials were tested for functionality in a single cylinder engine. The paper also discusses potential design enhancements related to the increased thermal conductivity of these sealing components.

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