NANOSLIDE®: Mirror-smooth surface for less friction

Oct 28, 2016

For three years now, Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG have used innovative NANOSLIDE® coating in more and more engines. This technology, which is protected by over 40 patents, will also help to save fuel in the new family of premium petrol and diesel engines. NANOSLIDE® is even used to reduce the internal friction in the latest Mercedes Formula One engine.

Nanoslide® is an innovative and economical technology designed to reduce the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of internal combustion engines. An extremely thin, low-friction coating is applied to the inner surfaces of the cylinders in an aluminium engine block. As up to 25 percent of the energy in fuel is used to overcome in-engine friction, particularly at part load, fuel savings of several percent are attainable.

Twin-wire arc spraying (TWAS) is used to apply an extremely thin coating based on an iron-carbon alloy to the inner surfaces of the cylinders in aluminium engine blocks. This produces a nano to ultra-fine, highly wear-resistant material structure with microporosity. This microporosity ensures effective lubrication in operation. It means that the heavy cast-iron liners measuring several millimetres in thickness can be replaced in aluminium cylinder blocks. The result is a mirror-smooth surface, with friction between piston, piston rings and cylinder wall reduced by up to 50 percent and weight savings of several kilograms.

In 2015, the production process was changed and made even more environment-friendly. Previously, prior to coating, the cylinder contact surfaces had to be activated ("roughened") using a high-pressure water jet (up to 3000 bar). The same effect is now achieved by means of a specially developed machining technique. With even wider application of the technology, this not only saves the company considerable sums of investment, but also reduces environmental pollution, with annual savings of around 10 million litres of water, about 10 tonnes of aluminium-containing slurry and around 900 MWh of electrical energy. Overall, the NANOSLIDE® process reduces the use of cast iron by around 1000 tonnes and of aluminium by around 8000 tonnes per year.

NANOSLIDE® was developed by Mercedes-Benz and Gebr. Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH, a manufacturer of machine tools and complete production systems, which has industrialised all stages of the process for reliable worldwide application in series production.