A piston ring is a split ring that fits into a groove on the outer diameter of a piston in a reciprocating engine such as an internal combustion engine or steam engine.
The three main functions of piston rings in reciprocating engines are :
- Sealing the combustion chamber so that there is no transfer of gases from the combustion chamber to the crank.
- Supporting heat transfer from the piston to the cylinder wall.
- Regulating engine oil consumption.
The gap in the piston ring compresses to a few thousandths of an inch when inside the cylinder bore.
... When fitting new piston rings or breaking them in within an engine, the end gap is a crucial measurement ... In order that a ring may be fitted into the "grooves" of the piston, it is not continuous but is broken at one point on its circumference ... The ring gap may be checked by putting the ring into the bore/liner (squared to bore) and measuring with a feeler gauge ...
... When ports take up too much space on the cylinder wall, the ability of the piston to transfer its heat through the walls to the coolant is hampered ... Piston ring durability ... A piston ring must ride on the cylinder wall smoothly with good contact to avoid mechanical stress and assist in piston cooling ...
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