ENGINES | Planning Group 4 »Strength & Tribology«

The ever higher pressures and temperatures in modern engines make combustion increasingly efficient, but also place increasing demands on strength, for example of valves, pistons and camshafts.

Wherever mechanical components move, friction takes place. Friction should usually be kept as low as possible in combustion engines, as it generates heat – i.e. energy that is then lost elsewhere. Moreover, friction leads to increased wear, which can reduce the lifespan of engines and their components. Therefore, design engineers and material developers are also working on minimising friction loss in the powertrain.

» To design future powertrains as resource-efficiently as possible, it is crucial for us to understand the interactions between operating fluids, materials and operating conditions as best as we can. «

Dr. Dieter Eppinger (SEG Automotive)

As the correct use of operating fluids is a significant influencing factor in the “tribological system”, lubricants such as greases and oils and their viscosity are on the agenda of collective researchers. For instance, friction loss can be reduced through targeted thermal management of the engine oil – a topic that the planning group focuses on in specific projects.

In its research projects, the planning group also works on tribological issues regarding hybrid and electric vehicles, such as tribological fluid models for ancillary units in electrified powertrains. In doing so, FVV researchers are broadening their view of the key questions for the mobility of tomorrow.

PG4 »Strength & Tribology« is dedicated to the following topics:

  • Materials research
  • Artificial intelligence in calculation models
  • Digitalisation in data acquisition and processing
  • Hydrogen contact and its effects

And tackles the following lines of research / focuses:

  • New operating fluids and coolants
  • Tribology and coatings
  • Damage characteristics under different loads
  • Lifespan calculations
  • Strength calculations
Materials research
Operating fuels
Development tools
Digitalisation and AI

People & Technology

ATZ heavyduty worldwide 02/2020

Deposit forming tendency of diesel fuels in injectors

Internal deposits in diesel injectors can lead to engine operating problems or a changed dynamic behavior of injectors. Common rail injectors for heavy-duty engines are particularly in focus because of their special requirements. These engines in particular are characterized by applications with the highest rail pressures, a high proportion of high-load operation and fields of application in a wide variety of regions and markets. To avoid loss of performance in current and future injection systems, a laboratory test method for preventive fuel screening with regard to the tendency to build up deposits was developed in a research project from FVV at LKV Rostock and verified with injection bench tests.

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Software | Development Tools

Oil transport in the oil control ring

In order to be able to design the piston assembly of a combustion engine, knowledge of oil transport in the piston ring is necessary. As the availability of this knowledge is poor, a one-cylinder research engine with complex measuring technology was developed in the project for investigating the tribologic states of the piston assembly. Among others, this measurement technology comprised a measurement lever system integrated into the crankcase as well as processes for determining lubricant viscosity and piston ring rotation. A newly developed simulation model reflected the piston ring package and determined the influencing factors on the oil supply. In this way the blowby (the gas that blows past the piston rings during the compression stroke), the axial ring movement, and the intermediate ring pressure for example can be reliably projected. As the developed flow solver for determining the oil transport is designed for industrial use, users can directly benefit from the project results.

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Mechanics, Friction & Noise

Resource efficiency by optimising static friction

When designing frictionally engaged component joints, such as flange and screw connections for example, precise knowledge of the friction coefficient plays an important role. In addition, torque transmission can be ensured with the help of higher static friction values, which in turn reduces the number of connecting elements and their dimensions. In this project, static friction values were calculated on standardised test stands and geometric parameters derived. The share of friction mechanisms and the friction characteristics of frictionally engaged surface pairings could be shown separately for the first time through simulation. Investigations of PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) coatings, thermal sprayed coatings and laser structures show that it is possible to significantly increase friction co-efficiency with all three methods. Thus the user has different variations at his disposal, which can be selected based on application-specific criteria. With the project results, the user is capable of designing frictionally engaged component connections with greater resource efficiency in the future.

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MTZ worldwide 12/2018

Operating fluids and materials are key technologies for efficient combustion engines

High power density is key for further increasing the efficiency of internal combustion engines. It can be reached by aligning operating fluids (fuels, coolants and lubricants) and materials to pair long service life and high fatigue strength with optimized friction. The projects initiated
by the Research Association for Combustion Engines (FVV) bridge the gap between basic research and industrial applications.

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Additively Manufactured High-pressure Components

Fatigue strength of additively manufactured high-pressure components made of high-strength steels


Fuel/Oil Flow Measuring

Clarification of fuel and oil flow behaviour around the piston rings of internal combustion engines


Base Engine Components for H2 ICEs

Investigation of the impact of different Hydrogen combustion processes on wear and durability of engine component systems


Machine Learning - MLμσ

Machine Learning for fretting-corrosion relations

PG4 »Strength & Tribology«

Dr. Dieter Eppinger
SEG Automotive

Project Management

Max Decker

+49 (0) 69 6603 1177
+49 (0) 69 6603 2177

Project & Team Assistance

Daniela Abdalla

+49 (0) 69 6603 1345
+49 (0) 69 6603 2345

Research Association for Combustion Engines eV

Lyoner Strasse 18
60528 Frankfurt am Main
T +49 69 6603 1345