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Mercedes-Benz unveils its revamped G-Class


The all-new G-Class makes its public debut at the Detroit auto show in the USA this month in G550 form. Completely redeveloped and fitted with a 4.0-liter V8 biturbo gasoline engine offering 427ps and 450 lb-ft of torque at 2,000rpm to 4,750rpm, despite near-identical looks to its predecessor plenty has changed for the Mercedes-Benz SUV.

Ford’s F150 pickup gets its first diesel motor


Developed by the powertrain team behind the 6.7-liter Power Stroke engine for super duty trucks, the all-new 3.0-liter V6 Power Stroke unit promises 250ps, 440 lb-ft of torque, and an anticipated 5175kg of towing capacity.

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In light of Fisker's solid-state battery breakthrough and claims of a one minute charge time, will this electric vehicle technology development kick-start mass BEV uptake? 


Federal-Mogul reveals innovative piston design

In an effort to reduce CO2 emissions and improve fuel economy, engineers at Federal-Mogul have come up with an innovative aluminium piston design that can withstand the severe mechanical and thermal loads produced by heavily boosted diesel engines, all of which allows for significant improvements in engine performance and durability.
Called DuraBowl, Federal-Mogul’s design strengthens the crown of a diesel engine piston by locally re-melting the alloy around the bowl, thus improving the fatigue strength of the aluminium where it is most needed. The result is an extension of component life to between four and seven times to that achieved with a conventional cast piston.
During the last decade, typical performance outputs for automotive diesel engines rose from 67bhp per liter to around 94bhp per liter. And according to Rainer Jueckstock, Federal-Mogul senior vice president of powertrain energy, such a trend is likely to accelerate even more thanks to increasingly pressing legislative targets for CO2 reduction in most global markets. “Rising specific outputs place higher mechanical and thermal loads on many of the components where Federal-Mogul has considerable expertise,” Jueckstock says. “The DuraBowl piston process is an example of how we are succeeding in delivering specialized process technologies that help our customers successfully address these challenges across a range of growing market sectors.”
Up until now, the industry has mostly used fiber-reinforced pistons, but according to Frank Doernenburg, Federal-Mogul director of technology, pistons and pins, this is not an ideal solution: “Fiber-reinforced pistons increase manufacturing complexity as the molten alloy has to infiltrate the fibres during casting. Furthermore, there is not yet a reliable, non-destructive way to test the integrity of the finished part whereas, with our DuraBowl process, we can do an Eddy Current test to ensure the quality.”
Federal-Mogul’s solution is to pre-machine the cast piston and then re-melt the alloy around the rim of the bowl. The re-melted alloy cools a thousand times faster than it did when originally cast, which leads to much smaller silicon particles. “The strength and efficiency of our solution is that the process is physically simple,” continues Doernenburg. “The sophistication is in the control of key parameters, which ensure consistent quality. The result is a technically advanced, high-performing and very cost-competitive product when compared with both fibre-reinforced and steel pistons.”
According to Federal-Mogul, both the technological and its cost benefits have been validated during extensive engine testing, with the first application of the DuraBowl process being on a high-performance diesel engine recently launched by a leading global vehicle manufacturer.

28 January 2010


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