XJet, a provider of industry-leading high-definition 3D printing solutions, has revealed that its customer Spyros Panopoulos Automotive (SPA) has developed the world’s first 3D printed ceramic piston for its revolutionary Chaos Ultracar. The ceramic piston was 3D printed on the Carmel 1400C 3D printer from XJet.
Spyros Panopoulos, the founder of SPA and a pioneer in the automotive industry, and the man behind the world’s most efficient combustion engine, is aiming for speeds of over 500 kph and acceleration from 0 to 100 kph in 1.55 seconds for the Chaos, which is currently in development. As a result, it has the highest-revving production car engine ever seen, capable of reaching up to 12,200 RPM and producing an astounding 3,065 horsepower.
3D Printed Ceramic Piston
The unique ‘anadiaplasi’ piston was designed to make the engine a reality and support the extreme levels of performance required. Spyros Panopoulos’ proprietary method of AM design, ‘Anadiaplasi,’ determines a component’s shape based on the forces acting on it. Material is minimised where it doesn’t support performance and added where reinforcement is needed, optimising weight while maintaining the strength and temperature resistance of the part – essential for any piston, but particularly testing in such a high-performing engine. As a result, an organic complex shape that is both light and strong has been created. This method is used throughout the Chaos Ultracar.
After finishing the design, Panopolous realized that the only relevant manufacturing technology for producing such complex geometry – along with the high accuracy and excellent surface finish required – was additive manufacturing, specifically XJet Nanoparticle Jetting. SPA chose XJet Alumina material for the Chaos piston in collaboration with Lino 3D, XJet’s business partners in Greece, due to its extraordinary strength, hardness, light weight, and almost total resistance to thermal expansion, making it the ideal material for the task.
“Ceramic offers many advantages compared to other materials. Harder and stiffer than steel, more resistant to heat and corrosion than metals or polymers and weighing significantly less than most metals and alloys. XJet’s alumina parts will withstand the high temperatures expected to develop within the combustion chamber as well as on the fast-moving parts.”– Spyros Panopoulos, a pioneer in the automotive industry, inventor of anadiaplasis and founder of SPA
He added, “XJet systems are uniquely capable of producing this part in ceramic, and there’s absolutely no room for error in this project.”
Panopolous, a strong advocate of additive manufacturing, is using it throughout the Chaos Ultracar, with a reported 78 percent of the body 3D printed, as well as other critical components such as the engine block, camshaft, and intake valves. The Chaos Ultracar is a marvel in itself. The car will have unrivaled performance, with a maximum power of 2048 hp, top speeds in excess of 500km/h, and a maximum torque of 1389 Nm.
Haim Levi, VP Strategic Marketing, XJet commented, “SPA is taking ceramic additive manufacturing and design for AM – DfAM – to the edge and beyond with their work on the Chaos Ultracar. We’re extremely proud to be part of such a trailblazing project by offering the top-level capabilities of our technology and system. Designers and engineers from a wide range of industries and applications are exposed to new options now opened for them. We expect the Chaos project ceramic piston to ignite their creativity and imaginations and push the limits in the automotive industry and beyond.”
Panopolous concluded, “We are proud to be using such progressive technology in our Ultracar. Our projects push performance to the extreme and so we are extremely selective about the materials and technologies we use. I believe this is the first-time ceramic AM is being used in motorsport and I feel privileged to take that pioneering step.”
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