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National Institute of Technology, Warangal

Allan Eapen Reji B.Tech Mechanical II/IV Roll No. 123207


What is an engine block? Engine block which is also called as cylinder block is the main structure of the engine which gives space for the piston cylinders, and also gives passages for the coolant, exhaust, and in take gases to pass over the engine and host for the crankcase and cam shafts. And it is the largest among the engine parts and it also constitute 20% to 25% of the total weight of the engine. also constitute 20% to 25% of the total weight of the engine.

The first successful internal combustion engine which can be used in an automobile was built by Siegfried Marcus in about 1864.

And this is how it looks like..

Functional Requirements of an Engine Block

Ability to withstand the pressure created when combustion take place. It also has to withstand high temperatures and vibrations when the engine is in running conditions. Durability Low maintenance

For many of the requirements the main feature is its material used.


Manufacturing of engine blocks are mainly done using sand casting Die casting can also be used but the die wears out due to high temperatures of molten metal.

The casted engine block is then machined to get the surface finish and coolant passages.


create the overall design for the engine block

Selecting material Deciding material of block based on the requirements

Sand Casting

creating the block with all the inner bores, etc..

Machining coolant passages

good surface finish


In order to meet the earlier mentioned functional requirements the material used for manufacturing the product should contain many properties. They are :

High strength
High modulus of elasticity Good wear resistance Ability to withstand vibrations Corrosion resistance. It should also have a low thermal expansion under high operating temperatures

Low density to reduce weight without compromising strength

a good thermal conductivity to give out the heat in minimum time

High strength is mostly concerned in diesel engines because of their high compression ratios compared with petrol engines.

Compression ratios:
Diesel engine are normally 17:1 or greater Petrol engine it is nearly 10:1

Based on the above features the most widely used material are : cast iron

aluminium alloys

Cast iron alloys contain good mechanical properties, low cost, and availability compared with other metals. Certain aluminium alloys

contain most of the characteristics of cast iron but with low weight.
aluminium alloy casted engine block gives a good surface finish and high machinability compared with cast iron alloys.

As the technology increases the engineers has found new materials such as graphite cast iron which is lighter and stronger than the grey cast iron mentioned above.




Theory behind Casting

Casting is a solidifying process which means solidification phenomena controls the most of the properties of casting. most of the casting defects occur during solidification.

Solidification occurs in two steps, they are:

nucleation crystal growth

How Its Done

In the sand casting process, the most widely used method in engine block casting is green sand mould casting. A combination of silica sand, clay, and water are poured in to the one half of the aluminium block pattern with wood or metal frame. The mould is then compacted by applying pressure or vibration on the metal frame.

This process is repeated for the other half of the mold. Then both halves of the mould are removed from the pattern.

Heres what it looks like :

Aluminium pattern

Resulting Mould

The core shown provides the space for water jackets around the cylinders. The core has being painted to seal the gas formed during the casting process within the core. And the pink coloured ends are not painted to let the gas escape to the outside. Aluminium reinforcing rods are used to give more strength to the core. These rods get melted due to the molten metal poured during casting.

And this is how the final mould looks like

Then the water jackets and cylinder molds are arranged in the main mold as a one cube. The mold is then tightened using clamps to withstand the pressure of gravity when pouring molten metal.

The molten metal is poured in to the mold through the smaller front centre hole which fills the mold from bottom back up to the top through the risers, which can be seen as 8 large holes. When the casting is cooling down the molten metal in the riser is drawn back down in to the casting. The risers act a main part in the casting process by supplying required molten metal during shrinkage.

And finally..
The sand is removed by applying vibrating on the casting. The casting has to be machined to get correct dimensions and smooth surfaces of the engine block.


The rough aluminium cylinder block is done with surface grinding to get smooth surfaces in the head gasket face and the faces where other components are fitted.

Then the block is ready for the line boring of the main bearing bores.
Bearing caps are fitted temporally for the line boring of the main bearing bores. Then in to the line boring of the crank and the cam shaft bearing housings. The boring bar contains multiple tools so in one operation all the boring operations are done. After the boring has being finished the crank and cam shafts are fitted temporally to check the clearances at the bearings. Now the engine block is ready for the further fittings of crank, cam, cylinders, connecting rods, and valves.



Any defect will reduce the strength of the engine block, as the engine block is running under higher temperatures small defect can be a reason for any failure of it.

If the permeability of the sand used for casting is high, the strength and the surface finish of the mold will be reduced. If the thermal stability of the sand is low, the mould may crack due to the molten metal. If the compression of the sand is low the casting would not be able to shrink and will end up with cracking. If the risers get solidified before the other parts of the casting, it would give an engine block with less strength. If the molten alloy is not up to standard it will failure in high running conditions.

If the clearances in the cylinder bores, crank, and came bearings are not up to the standard measurements, under the running conditions it may arise with unwanted friction or loose.