Validation of a combined CFD/FEM methodology for the evaluation of thermal load acting on aluminum alloy pistons through hardness measurements in internal combustion engines


  • G. Cantore
  • M. Giacopini
  • R. Rosi
  • A. Strozzi
  • P. Pelloni
  • C. Forte
  • M. Achiluzzi
  • G. M. Bianchi
  • L. Ceschini
  • A. Morri


This work presents the results of a
multidisciplinary research project, carried out
in close collaboration with Ducati Motor
Holding S.p.A., for the development of an
integrated methodology to design engine
components in aluminum alloy under high
thermal loads. The results refer to the study of
an AA2618 (Al-Cu-Mg) alloy piston for high
performance motorcycle engines. The piston
has been selected as the pilot component for
the development and validation of an
advanced Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Finite
Element (FE) simulation methodology for the
prediction of the inner thermal diffusion. The
subsequent validation has been achieved
through both the mechanical and
microstructural characterization of the
component. The methodology here presented
consists of close interaction between fluiddynamics
(CFD) simulations of the combustion
process and Finite Element (FEM) simulations of
the thermal diffusion inside the components.
Combustion is the main engine heat source
and is simulated by means of a threedimensional
CFD code for reactive flows (FIRE
v2008-AVL), with the use of advanced
combustion (ECFM) and wall interaction
models. The temperature map on the surfaces
is based on the results of the iteration with FEM
simulation of thermal diffusion. The FEM model
used for the diffusion analysis receives the
results of combustion analysis as input. Two
different methods have been tested for the
transfer of the CFD thermal load to the FEM
models: a) imposition on the piston crown of a
spatial distribution of heat flux averaged over
the mean engine cycle; b) imposition on the
piston crown of both heat flux coefficients and...