Engine Piston Rings

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Piston Rings
Piston Rings

A piston ring is a split ring,which fits into a groove on the outer diameter of a piston, in a vehicles engine. The purpose of having this ring on the piston is to seal the combustion chamber, support heat transfer from the piston to the cylinder wall, and regulate engine oil consumption. Most modern automotive engines will have three of these rings which can be placed on different locations of the piston depending on the manufacture. The top two rings are used to control oil but are primarily used for compression sealing while the lower ring is primarily used to control the supply of oil to the liner that lubricates the piston skirt and the compression rings.

These rings are typically one of three types and these include the single piece cast iron ring, helical spring backed cast iron or steel, and the multi-piece steel ring. The spring backed oil rings and the cast iron oil rings basically have the same range of peripheral forms which consist of two scraping lands of various detailed form. The multi-piece oil control rings will usually consist of two rails or segments that have a spacer expander spring which keeps the two rails apart and provides the radial load.

It is normal for piston rings to experience a great amount of wear since they are moving up and down in the cylinder under great loads. To minimize wear, the rings are made out of a wear resistant material such as cast iron and steel and coated with or treated with a wear resistance substance. To help lubricate the rings to prevent wear, the lower oil control ring is designed to leave a lubricating oil film which is a few micrometers thick on the bore as the piston descends through the stroke.

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