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How Is an Engine Block Made?

by Nancy Lovering

The engine block is the metal housing containing the inner workings of an internal combustion engine. It is of critical importance to the operation of your engine. If the engine block cracks, your car should not be driven until it is repaired or replaced.

Material

Engine blocks were traditionally made from cast iron, but in the interest of better fuel mileage, lighter aluminum alloys have been introduced. The metal is heated to 800 degrees C and then poured into a sand mold where it hardens and sets.

Sand Casting

The sand molds used to cast engine metal can be used only once. Zircon sand, glue and a hardener are mixed and shaped into sections. This is then solidified with gas. The sections are glued together to form the entire mold in which the engine block is cast.

Casting and Machining

Once the liquid alloy is poured into the mold and has set, the mold is heated to break down the glue that solidifies the sand. The sand will then pour off of and out of the hardened engine block. Tooling equipment machines the engine blocks before they are inspected and sent to engine assembly plants where final machining is done before engine assembly.

About the Author

Nancy Lovering is a writer, photographer and teaching assistant. She took novel writing at Langara College and photography at British Columbia Institute of Technology. She obtained her teaching assistant certificate through Delta School District Continuing Education. She previously worked as an assistant controller while in the Certified General Accountants program, and has training in dog psychology through Custom Canine Teaching Ltd. in Vancouver, BC.

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