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New technology makes stronger pistons


January 27, 2006

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January 28, 2006 The internal combustion engine by another name is a heat pump and the hotter it gets in said engine’s combustion chamber, the more efficient and powerful the little sucker becomes. As any aspiring engine tuner will tell you, pistons have a habit of complaining (cracking, melting and worse) when things get very hot in there, so the petrol-heads amongst us should be downright grateful to developments over the last quarter century in the field of ceramics. We realized how far things had come when we heard about Federal-Mogul’s new line of high-strength high-performance pistons with a ceramic piston-head coating that withstands combustion temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and delivers three times the surface hardness of hard-anodized coatings.

The company’s new Sealed Power and Speed-Pro Thermoshield-coated pistons are offered in hypereutectic and Powerforged designs for a variety of popular standard replacement and performance applications. The pistons' Thermoshield crown coating is produced through an immersion process using electrical impulses that convert the piston surface into an extremely strong, smooth and heat resistant complex ceramic. Because the Thermoshield barrier is atomically bonded to the piston substrate, the material is highly resistant to flaking and cracking. Thermoshield also is well suited as a top ring groove coating for the prevention of micro-welding.

Conventional piston crown coating technologies such as hard anodizing, sprayed ceramics and electroplating produce a lower surface hardness than the Thermoshield process which is far less resistant to corrosion, cracking, scratching and wear. The use of piston crown barrier coatings is becoming increasingly popular in many demanding performance and other high-temperature applications and the hardness of the Thermoshield coating provides added protection against spontaneous detonation.

Federal-Mogul’s Raymond King claims that Thermoshield technology, “makes hard-anodizing and other conventional crown coating technologies virtually obsolete in terms of strength, durability, finish quality and consistency."

In addition to the Thermoshield crown coating, each new Sealed Power and Speed-Pro piston also features Federal-Mogul's exclusive Duroshield antifriction skirt coating, which helps eliminate scuffing and other skirt and cylinder wall damage in high-rpm, high-temperature applications.

Federal-Mogul offers Thermoshield-coated pistons for the following applications:


5.4L Ford Lightning 4.6L Ford (Supercharged) 540-Cubic Inch Chevrolet


5.7L Dodge Hemi 4.8L, 5.3L and 6.0L GM 3.5L GM 2.2L GM Ecotec

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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