Research Group Forms to Reinvent the Cylinder Head

Feb 9, 2016

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has formed a new consortium to advance automotive cylinder head designs. The Aluminum Head Evaluation, Analysis, and Durability (AHEAD) consortium seeks to reduce the weight, while improving the durability of aluminum cylinder heads.

“As fuel economy and greenhouse gas regulations drive the need for lighter-weight engines, cylinder heads and their components will need to change,” said Douglas Eberle, manager of the Powertrain Design and Analysis Section of the SwRI Engine, Emissions and Vehicle Research Division. “AHEAD offers a cost-effective way for manufacturers to develop new technologies that stand up to the heavy demands of modern engines.”

Initially, AHEAD will target advances for aluminum cylinder heads used in both gasoline and diesel engines, such as casting processes, structural design, measurement and prediction of residual stresses, and aluminum alloy materials that resist high-temperatures. More advanced projects could include new alloy development, cylinder head transient analysis, materials characterization, and more.

The four-year program kicks off this summer and is open to automotive original equipment manufacturers and suppliers. Two membership tiers are available: Associate membership is $60,000 per year and Full membership is $100,000 per year, according to AHEAD. Full membership includes meeting attendance, reports, and royalty-free access to intellectual property, as well as project selection rights. Details of provisions to be included with associate membership will soon be announced. Only full members will be eligible to determine the focus of research.

SwRI has a long history of managing successful consortia for the automotive industry as an independent research and development organization, according to SwRI. Other ongoing programs include the Clean High-Efficiency Diesel Engine (CHEDE) consortium, the Advanced Engine Fluids (AEF) consortium, and the High-Efficiency Dilute Gasoline Engine (HEDGE) consortium that developed the dedicated-EGR technology now being integrated into production engines.

Click to find more information on the AHEAD consortium.