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Crankshaft
Power from the burnt gases in the combustion chamber is delivered to the crankshaft
through the piston,piston pin and connecting rod.The crankshaft (fig.3.62) changes
reciprocating motion of the piston in cylinder to the rotary motion of the
flywheel.Conversion of motion is executed by use of the offset in the crankshaft.Each offset
part of the crankshaft has a bearing surface known as a crank pin to which the connecting
rod is attached.Crank-through is the offset from the crankshaft centre line. The stroke of
the piston is controlled by the throw of the crankshaft. The combustion force is transferred
to the crank-throw after the crankshaft has moved past top dead centre to produce turning
effort or torque, which rotates the crankshaft. Thus all the engine power is delivered
through the crankshaft. The cam-shaft is rotated by the crankshaft through gears using
chain driven or belt driven sprockets. The cam-shaft drive is timed for opening of the
valves in relation to the piston position. The crankshaft rotates in main bearings, which are
split in half for assembly around the crankshaft main bearing journals.

Both the crankshaft and camshaft must be capable of withstanding the intermittent
variable loads impressed on them. During transfer of torque to the output shaft, the force
deflects the crankshaft. This deflection occurs due to bending and twisting of the
crankshaft. Crankshaft deflections are directly related to engine roughness. When
deflections of the crankshaft occur at same vibrational or resonant frequency as another
engine part, the parts vibrate together. These vibrations may reach the audible level
producing a thumping sound. The part may fail if this type of vibration is allowed to
continue. Harmful resonant frequencies of the crankshaft are damped using a torsional
vibration damper. Torsional stiffness is one of the most important crankshaft design
requirements. This can be achieved by using material with the correct physical properties
and by minimizing stress concentration.

The crankshaft is located in the crankcase and is supported by main bearings. Figure 3.62
represents schematic view of a typical crankshaft. The angle of the crankshaft throws in
relation to each other is selected to provide a smooth power output. V-8 engines use 90
degree and 6 cylinder engines use 120 degree crank throws. The engine firing order is
determined from the angles selected. A crankshaft for a four cylinder engine is referred to a
five bearing shaft. This means that the shaft has five main bearings, one on each side of
every big end which makes the crankshaft very stiff and supports it well. As a result the
engine is normally very smooth and long lasting.
Fig. 3.62.

Crankshaft.

Because of the additional internal webs required to support the main bearings, the crank
case itself is very stiff. The disadvantages of this type of bearing arrangement are that it is
more expensive and engine may have to be slightly longer to accommodate the extra main
bearings. Counter weights are used to balance static and dynamic forces that occur during
engine operation. Main and rod bearing journal overlap increases crankshaft strength
because more of the load is carried through the overlap area rather than through the fillet
and crankshaft web. Since the stress concentration takes place at oil holes drilled through
the crankshaft journals, these are usually located where the crankshaft loads and stresses
are minimal. Lightening holes in the crank throws do not reduce their strength if the hole
size is less than half of the bearing journal diameter, rather these holes often increase
crankshaft strength by relieving some of the crankshafts natural stress. Automatic
transmission pressure and clutch release forces tend to push the crankshaft towards the
front of the engine. Thrust bearings in the engine support this thrust load as well maintain
the crankshaft position. Thrust bearings may be located on any one of the main bearing
journals. Experience shows that the bearing lasts much longer when the journal is polished
against the direction of normal rotation than if polished in the direction of normal rotation.
Most crankshaft balancing is done during manufacture by drilling holes in the
counterweight to lighten them. Sometimes these holes are drilled after the crankshaft is
installed in the engine.

2. Crankshaft Nomenclature

Crank-throw.

This is the distance from the main-journal centers to the big-end-journal centers. It is the
amount the cranked arms are offset from the center of rotation of the crankshaft. A small
crank-throw reduces both the crankshaft turning-effort and the distance the piston moves
between the dead centers. A large crank-throw increases both the leverage applied to the
crankshaft and stroke of the piston.
Crank-webs.

These are the cranked arms of the shaft, which provide the throws of the crankshaft. They
support the big-end crankpin. They must have adequate thickness and width to withstand
both the twisting and the bending effort, created within these webs. But their excessive
mass causes inertial effect, which tends to wind and unwide the shaft during operation.

Main-bearing Journal.

Main-journal is the parallel cylindrical portions of the crankshaft, supported rigidly by the
plain bearings mounted in the crankcase. The journals diameter must be proper to provide
torsional strength. The diameter and width of the journal should have sufficient projected
area to avoid overloading of the plain bearing.

Connecting-rod Big-end (Crankpin) Journals.

These journals have cylindrical smooth surfaces for the connecting-rod big-end bearings to
rub against.

3. Crankshaft Design Considerations and Proportional


Dimensions
The present design consideration is to increase the stiffness of the crankshaft and reduce its
overall length by incorporating narrow journals of large diameter. For the required wall
thickness and coolant passages, the minimum cylinder centers can be around 1.2 times the
cylinder bore diameter for an engine having its stroke equal to the bore. The maximum
diameter of the big-end for the connecting-rod assembly that can pass through the cylinder
is 0.65 times
of the bore. The proportions of the crankshaft are as follows :

Cylinder bore diameter = D

Cylinder centre distance = 1.20 D

Big-end journals diameter = 0.65 D

Main-end journal diameter = 0.75 D

Big-end journal width = 0.35 D

Main-end journal width = 0.40 D

Web thickness = 0.25 D

Fillet radius of journal and webs = 0.04 D


To increase the fatigue life of the shaft, the fillet radius between journals and webs should
be as large as possible but not less than 5% of the journal diameter. The overlap between
the diameters of the big-end crankpin and the main-end journal depends on the length of
the stroke i.e. the crank-throw. A long-stroke engine has very little overlap, requiring
thicker web sections, and a short-stroke engine has considerable overlap which strengthens
the shaft.

Collars are machined on the webs adjacent to the journals to accurately align the
crankshaft and the bearings with the correct amount of side-float and, if necessary, to
absorb the crankshaft end-float. Most crankshafts dimensions are such that the nominal
stresses in the material under operating conditions do not exceed 20% of the tensile
strength in bending and 15% in torsion. Crankshaft journals are ground to provide a
surface finish better than 0.5 urn, to minimize bearing wear.

Fig. 3.63.

Integral crankshaft.

Fig. 3.64.

Attached crankshaft.
4. Crankshaft Counterbalance Weights :
Crankshafts normally have either integral (Fig. 3.63) or attachable (Fig. 3.64)
counterweights. These counterweights counteract the centrifugal force created by each
individual crankpin and its webs as the whole crankshaft is rotated about the main-journal
axis. In absence of the counterweights, the crankpin masses tend to bend and distort the
crankshaft causing excessive edge-loading in the main bearings. Therefore, each half
crank-web is generally extended in the opposite direction to that of the crankpin, to
counterbalance the effects of the crankpin.

Fig. 3.65.

Crankshaft with single diagonal oil drillings.

Bolt-on counterweights are, sometimes, used for large in-line and *V engines (Fig. 3.64)
because of the simplicity in casting or forging the crankshaft. The use of detachable weights
allows their slight overlap on the webs and this increase in web width permits
concentration of more mass at a smaller radius from the axis of rotation. The attaching
weights to the web is to be located and attached very accurately, otherwise any error in
assembly results in an unbalanced crankshaft.

5. Crankshaft Oil-hole Drillings :


Oil from the main oil gallery reaches each individual main-journal and bearing. Oil is fed
through a central circumferential groove in the bearing and it completely surrounds the
central region of the journal surface. Diagonal oil hole drills are provided in the crankshaft
which pass through the webs between the main and big-end journals (Figs. 3.62 and 3.65)
for lubrication of the big-end journal. For effective lubrication of the big-end, these oil
holes emerge from the crankpin at about 30 degrees on the leading side of the cranks TDC
position. The drilled oil passages should not be close to the side walls of the webs or near
the fillet junction between the journal and the webs to avoid high stress concentration,
which may cause fatigue failure. Also the oil holes on the journal surfaces must be
chamfered to reduce stress concentration, but excessive chamfering can destroy the oil film.

6. Crankshaft Materials
Crankshafts materials should be readily shaped, machined and heat-treated, and have
adequate strength, toughness, hardness, and high fatigue strength. The crankshaft are
manufactured from steel either by forging or casting. The main bearing and connecting rod
bearing liners are made of babbitt, a tin and lead alloy. Forged crankshafts are stronger
than the cast crankshafts, but are more expensive. Forged crankshafts are made from SAE
1045 or similar type steel. Forging makes a very dense, tough shaft with a grain running
parallel to the principal stress direction. Crankshafts are cast in steel, modular iron or
malleable iron. The major advantage of the casting process is that crankshaft material and
machining costs are reduced because the crankshaft may be made close to the required
shape and size including counterweights. Cast crankshafts can handle loads from all
directions as the metal grain structure is uniform and random throughout. Counterweights
on cast crankshafts are slightly larger than counterweights on a forged crankshafts because
the cast metal is less dense and therefore somewhat lighter.

Generally automobile crankshafts were forged in past to have all the desirable properties.
However, with the evolution of the nodular cast irons and improvements in foundry
techniques, cast crankshafts are now preferred for moderate loads. Only for heavy duty
applications forged shafts are favoured. The selection of crankshaft materials and heat
treatments for various applications are as follows.

(i) Manganese-molybdenum Steel.

This is a relatively cheap forging steel and is used for moderate-duty petrol-engine
crankshafts. This alloy has the composition of 0.38% carbon, 1.5% manganese, 0.3%
molybdenum, and rest iron. The steel is heat-treated by quenching in oil from a
temperature of 1123 K, followed by tempering at 973 K, which produces a surface hardness
of about 250 Brinell number. With this surface hardness the shaft is suitable for both tin-
aluminium and lead-copper plated bearings.

(ii) 1%-Chromium-molybdenum Steel.

This forging steel is used for medium-to heavy-duty petrol- and diesel-engine crankshafts.
The composition of this alloy is 0.4% carbon, 1.2% chromium, 0.3% molybdenum, and rest
iron. The steel is heat-treated by quenching in oil from a temperature of 1123 K and then
tempering at 953 K. This produces a surface hardness of about 280 Brinell number. For the
use of harder bearings, the journals can be flame or induction surface-hardened to 480
Brinell number. For very heavy duty applications, a nitriding process can produce the
surface to 700 diamond pyramid number (DPN). These journal surfaces are suitable for all
tin-aluminium and bronze plated bearings.

(iii) 2.5%-Nickel-chromium-molybdenum Steel.

This steel is opted for heavy-duty diesel-engine applications. The composition of this alloy is
0.31% carbon, 2.5% nickel, 0.65% chromium, 0.55% molybdenum, and rest iron. The steel
is initially heat-treated by quenching in oil from a temperature of 1003 K and then
tempered at a suitable temperature not exceeding 933 K. This produces a surface hardness
in the region of 300 Brinell number. This steel is slightly more expensive than manganese-
molybdenum and chromium-molybdenum steels, but has improved mechanical properties.

(iv) 3%-Chromium-molybdenum or 1.5%-Chromium-aluminium-modybdenum


Steel.

These forged steels are used for diesel-engine crankshafts suitable for bearing of hard high
fatigue-strength materials. The alloying compositions are 0.15% carbon, 3% chromium,
and 0.5% molybdenum or 0.3% carbon, 1.5% chromium, 1.1% aluminium, and 0.2%
molybdenum. Initial heat treatment for both steels is oil quenching and tempering at 1193
K and 883 K or 1163 K and 963 K respectively for the two steels. The shafts are case-
hardened by nitriding, so that nitrogen is absorbed into their surface layers. If the nitriding
is carried out well in the journal fillets, the fatigue strength of these shafts is increased by at
least 30% compared to induction and flame-surface-hardened shafts. The 3%-chromium
steel has a relatively tough surface and hardness of 800 to 900 DPN. On the other hand the
1.5%-chromium steel casing tends to be slightly more brittle but has an increased hardness,
of the order of 1050 to 1100 DPN.

(v) Nodular Cast Irons.

These cast irons are also known as speroidal-graphite irons or ductile irons. These grey cast
irons have 3 to 4% carbon and 1.8 to 2.8% silicon, and graphite nodules are dispersed in a
pearlite matrix instead of the formation off fake graphite. To achieve this structure about
0.02% residual cerium or 0.05% residual niagnesium or even both is added to the melt due
to which the sulphur is removed and many small spheroids in the as-cast material are
formed. The surface hardness of as-cast nodular iron is greater than for steel of similar
strength, their respective hardnesses being 250 to 300 and 200 to 250 Brinell number. The
flame or induction hardening can produce a surface with Brinell numbers of 550 to 580,
and also a form of nitriding can be applied if necessary.

Nodular cast iron has the advantageous properties of grey cast iron (that is, low melting
point, good fluidity and castability, excellent machinability, and wear resistance) as well as
the mechanical properties of steel (that is relatively high strength, hardness, toughness,
workability, and harden ability). Now-a-days a large number of crankshafts for both petrol
and diesel engines are made from nodular cast iron in preference to the more expensive
forged expensive forged steel. To support the slightly inferior toughness and fatigue
strength of these cast irons, larger sections and the maximum number of main journals are
used.

Heat Treatment.

(a) Flame and Induction Surface-hardening.

These are the surface hardening methods for steel having 0.3 to 0.5% carbons without the
use of special compounds or gases. The basic principle is to rapidly apply heat to the
surface followed by only water quenching. As it is heated locally instead of heating the
entire mass, the hardening is greatly reduced and distortion of the journal is avoided.

Flame hardening is carried out by oxyacetylene flame at the surface layer temperature
between 993 and 1173 K. The surface temperature depends on the carbon content
equivalent of the different alloying elements in the steel. The heating process is followed by
a water-jet quenching operation. Since the actual period for heating and cooling is critical,
it is predetermined and is mostly automatically controlled.

Induction hardening is carried out by inducting heat electrically into the surface to be
hardened. This case eliminates the danger of either overheating or burning the surface of
the metal as with a flame hardening. An induction coil surrounds the journal and carries a
high-frequency current. This induces circulating eddy currents in the journal surface
thereby raising of its temperature and heat is mostly confined to the outer surface of the
journals. In this process the higher the frequency of the current, the closer the heat is to the
skin. The current is automatically switched off when the required temperature is attained
and the surface is simultaneously quenched by water jet, which passes through holes in the
induction block.

(b) Nitriding Surface-hardening Process.

In this process the journals are heated to 773 K for a predetermined time in an ammonia
gas atmosphere, so that the nitrogen in the gas is absorbed into the surface layer. The
alloying elements such as chromium, aluminium, and molybdenum, present in the steel,
from hard nitrides. Aluminium nitrides form an intensely hard shallow case. Chromium
nitrides diffuse to a greater depth than aluminium nitrides. The molybdenum increases
hardenability, gives grain refinement, and improves the toughness of the core.

This process can use directly the journals ground to their final size as there is no quenching
after nitriding thereby avoiding distortion unlike other surface-hardening processes. The
slow rate of penetration of the surface makes the cost of the process high for example, it
takes 20 hours to produce a case depth of about 0.2 mm.
(c) Carbonitriding Surface-hardening Process.

Tufftride is the best-know salt-bath carbonitriding process. The crankshaft is immersed in


a bath of molten salts at a temperature of about 853 Kfor a relatively short cycle time of
two to three hours. In the process both carbon and nitrogen dissociate from the salts and
diffuse into the surface. Since nitrogen is more soluble than carbon in iron, it diffuses
further into the material. Hard iron carbides and tough iron nitrides are formed on the
surface thereby resistance to wear, galling (surface peeling), seizure, and corrosion are
greatly increased.

Depending on the steel used, this outer layer is 6 to 16 jam deep with hardness varying
from 400 to 1200 DPN. Underneath this outer layer, the excess nitrogen goes into solid
solution with the iron due to which it is strengthened. This inner diffusion zone forms a
barrier which prevents spreading of cracks leading to fatigue failure.

This surface-hardening treatment, also known as soft FLYWHEEL nitriding, is becoming


increasingly popular for both steels the cast irons, and is expected to replace other more
expensive processes for the components using plain carbon steels requiring surface
hardness and corrosion resistance. This process is much quicker and cheaper and produces
similar properties to nitriding, but the depth of hardness is normally less, which can be a
problem if the shaft is to be reground.