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Cryogenic Treatments

"Cool stuff"

When putting more power through an engine you need to ensure that every part will perform at its optimum.

One of the motorsports favourite techniques to improve the durability of an engine is a process know as cryogenic treatments.

As you can guess from the use of the word Cryo - it involves the cooling and heating of the engine block to temper the metal changing its structure.

First the engine is slowly cooled in liquid nitrogen. The liquid nitrogen is added to the sealed tank in very precise measures, too fast and you risk causing stress fractures in the metal.

After you have reached around -350F the engine temperature is slowly raised up again to over 300 F over a 12 hour period or so.

This process is repeated 3 or 4 times over the course of a week. The process will work on any metal engine part with popular use for hardening the block, pistons and crank.

The camshaft is also a high wear area of a performance tuned engine and will benefit from cryo treatment. It is best that the parts are cryo treated separately and then assembled.

Extreme cooling and heating has a massive effect on the engines durability and reliability.

The cooling and heating of the metal aligns the 'metal molecules' and allows them to be much more tightly packed together. This cooling and heating actually traps carbon atoms that do not have time to diffuse out of the crystal structure.

It forms a more symmetrical crystalline lattice which is much tougher than untreated metal. Known as a Martensitic structure this process has been used to strengthen blades and cutting surfaces and is now being applied to engine tuning.

It allows the head gasket and valves to seat better and this will also improve engine efficiency and power. It also improves the lubricity of 2 surfaces as there are less friction causing imperfections again raising the power output of the engine.

Rather than just affecting the surface of the metal the slow temperature changes allow the entire metal to attain the benefits.

Any stress points in the metal are thus removed and the result is that the engine is much harder and will cope with a lot more stress.

The internal friction of the surfaces is reduced giving an instant power gain. Because internal friction is lower the engine is more reliable and some sources quote 8 times the wear resistance for certain metals after a cryogenic treatment along with improved tensile strength.

There are not many places offering this service but there are some specialists out there. The relative cost to benefit ratio is fantastic and will give you a distinct advantage in the competitive motorsports arena allowing you to raise the bar of your engine power.

Not only will you gain power and a longer engine life you will also get better fuel consumption as the engine is more efficient with less internal friction. TorqueCars see Cryogenic treatments as a win/win situation.

We anticipate that performance parts suppliers will be listed "cryo treated" items as premium parts alongside their usual catalogues. As interest in this grows you are best to get in there quickly and gain the competitive advantage.

To discuss all aspects of engine tuning please join us in our friendly chat forum and benefit from the experience and wisdom of our resident car tuning enthusiasts.

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