Porsche Develops 3D-Printed High-Performance Pistons
Porsche is developing new high-performance pistons for the 911 GT2 RS model. Using additive manufacturing to produce the pistons helps to reduce the weight and increase engine performance.
Together with Mahle, Trumpf and Zeiss, sports car manufacturer Porsche has developed high-performance pistons for the 911 GT2 RS. The pistons are manufactured using laser metal fusion to create 1,200 layers over 12 hours. This process, which is also used for rapid prototyping, reduces development time by 30 %. The bionic design uses significantly less material, reducing the weight of the piston by 10 %. Porsche believes that it may be possible to reduce the weight by up to 20 %. Cooling ducts have also been integrated into the piston, which allow the temperature in the piston ring area to be reduced by 20°C.
The finished blanks are reworked by Mahle and analysed by Zeiss using an X-ray microscope before being subject to 200 hours on a test bed. Thanks to the components' reduced weight, the speed of the six-cylinder boxer engine was increased by 300 rpm, boosting peak performance by 22 kW (30 HP). Because the process is very expensive, the 3D-printed pistons will be used only in prototype construction and motor racing for the time being.
Porsche considers using 3D printing for small series
However, 3D-printing technology is likely to become more widespread in limited-edition series and possibly in small series production in the medium to long term. The Zuffenhausen-based company is already using 3D-printed parts in other areas, such as the manufacture of spare parts for classic cars and the customisation of full-shell seats.