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piston metal

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Philip Burley17/09/2020 10:03:11
198 forum posts
1 photos

What is the best metal for a piston in bronze cylinder ? Will aluminium work ? cast iron ? bronze on bronze ?

regards Phil

JasonB17/09/2020 10:33:14
22574 forum posts
2634 photos
1 articles

Steam, IC or other?

Howard Lewis17/09/2020 12:40:08
6013 forum posts
14 photos

If moisture in the form of steam (It will condense in a cold cylinder ) is present, I would be wary of using Aluminium in contact with any alloy containing copper. Any electrolytic action will corrode the Aluminium.

So my preference would be for a cast iron or steel piston, rather than running like for like materials.

You may need to use slightly tighter clearances to allow for the ferrous material having a lower coefficient of expansion than Aluminium (alloy ) to minimise leakage.

The rings should cope with most of the leakage, but the piston is part of the leak path.



Thor 🇳🇴17/09/2020 14:51:32
1602 forum posts
45 photos

Hi Phil,

I have been using pistons made from free-cutting stainless steel (303) in gunmetal cylinders in several of my steam engines and that has worked well so far. Gunmetal may not be quite the same as bronze, bronze would probably be a bit harder.


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