You may have heard about Ford’s Plasma Transferred Wire Arc technology that is showcased on the new 5.2-liter, 526-horsepower V8 found in the Shelby Mustang GT350. But have you seen this unique process in action?
The above video shows how the cylinders in the aluminum blocks are treated to a fine mist of molten steel. Basically, an argon-hydrogen plasma arc of about 35,000 degrees F atomizes a wire feed and pressurized air blows the droplets onto the cylinder walls that earlier had been specially machined to accept and help bond the material to the surface. The molten steel will oxidize and build up layers of iron and ferrous-oxide inside the bore to a thickness of about 150 micrometers. The blocks are then diamond-honed to achieve the final cross-hatch pattern and bore diameter.
This process eliminates the need for iron liners in the aluminum block, saving about a pound per cylinder. The basic technology has been used in aerospace, then Ford teamed with Flame Spray Industries to develop an automotive application, starting with the 5.4-liter V8 that was in the earlier Shelby GT500. Ford has also licensed the technology to Nissan for use in the GT-R’s turbocharged engine.
For more on the GT350 engine, check out this story.