Material processing techniques for advanced ceramic materials have been developed for spring production.
Machining techniques, green and as sintered have been speeded up to make them economically viable.
The maximum stress design limits for static and dynamic conditions have been defined for a range of advanced ceramic materials, which were made into springs, test coupons from which were shown to have mechanical strength values equal to the published values for each material.
Test methodologies for testing and handling of brittle spring materials have been established. A much better understanding has been acquired about the problems associated with manufacturing and use of open ended springs.
The influence of surface condition on susceptibility to failure has been defined.
The performance of the springs manufactured is close to that of similar products manufactured in Japan.
This project aims to develop advanced engineering ceramic springs of sufficiently high quality and integrity to operate reliably in a number of applications. These springs will have highly desirable properties such as exceptional performance at elevated temperatures and/or in aggressive corrosive environments coupled with a high elasticity: weight ratio. The development of such springs will represente a major breakthrough since they will open up new applications for springs in many industrial sectors and will offer enhanced performance in existing applications.
The springs produced as part of this project will be laboratory tested across a wide range of test conditions. In addition tests will be conducted in two end user applications with a view to commercial exploitation. These applications (automotive engine valve springs and sliding gate mechanism springs) represent very different but highly demanding applications where ceramic springs would confer significant advantages.
These advantages would be, on the one hand, higher operating speed and temperature for the engine, leading to improved fuel efficiency and reduced pollution, and on the other hand, improved performance and less need for cooling on sliding gate mechanisms in continuous casting plant.
The manufacturing techniques developed for this project will find use in other ceramic products where high cyclic or static stresses place a requirement for high surface quality and integrity or where complex shapes must be formed with a minimum of machining.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
TS23 1PS Billingham