Surface Texturing for Automotive Applications

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering & the Environment


In the drive to make automotive transportation more sustainable, controlling the friction behaviour of engine components has become a key area of research focus for reducing CO2 emissions and improving fuel efficiency. Friction between engine components can account for up to 12% of the supplied energy from the fuel. With projected global vehicle usage set to excess 30 billion vehicles by 2030, small decreases in friction in the engine can have a significant impact on reducing global emission levels. This project will investigate the use of electro-jet machining to pattern light-weight aluminium engine block surfaces in order to enhance their friction behaviour. You will investigate a range of texturing parameters to optimise the friction coefficient for an automotive cylinder liner application. Extensive characterisation of the surface using non-contact optical profilometry, scanning electron microscopy and focused ion beam microscopy will allow an understanding of how different lubrication mechanisms influence the friction and wear behaviour of aluminium cylinder liner materials.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509747/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1939301 Studentship EP/N509747/1 25/09/2017 30/09/2020 Stefano Cinti
Description An aluminium-silicon based alloy was prepared to represent a lightweight private car cylinder liner. A reciprocating contact machine was used to replicate the sliding of the piston rings against the cylinder liner. The surface of the aluminium-silicon alloy was textured in partnership with TextureJet Ltd.. This generates micro craters on the surfaces. These acts as lubricant reservoir, debris trap and can pressurise to achieve a higher pressure. The combination of these effects reduce friction which can lead to a reduction in fuel consumption and emissions. In this project, friction reduction up to 41% were observed.
Exploitation Route Different texture pattern can be tested and then optimised. A complete investigation on the effect of surface texturing requires different testing condition (i.e, load, temperature etc..). Once an optimal texture design has been tested and validated a full engine scale test is recommended to investigate fuel consumption and emission changes with and without surface texturing.
Sectors Transport

Description Surface Texturing Machining Process 
Organisation Texture Jet
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Al-Si alloy was prepared by lapping (polishing) and etching (chemical process). After the texture was applied by TextureJet Ltd. (7 Faraday Building, Nottingham Science & Technology Park, Nottingham, NG7 2QP)on the metal plates, these were tested by me.
Collaborator Contribution TextureJet Ltd. successfully produced an effective surface texturing on the Al-Si alloy using a machining method. This does not cause any thermal load on the plates, improving the result of the texture.
Impact Thanks to this collaboration, it was possible to investigate the effects of surface texturing on the A390 lightweight alloy.
Start Year 2017