Often inevitable with no universal cure, cavitation erosion are the pitted areas on the outside of cylinder linders in some diesel engines. Cavitation erosion is caused by excessive harmonic engine vibrations. These create small vapour pockets between the cylinder liner and coolant, which implode and cause erosion to begin.
How much erosion and the rate in which it happens, varies between engines and even between liners in the same engine. Currently, no cost-effective material have been found to completely prevent it.
Ceramic or metallic coatings – sometimes applied to the liner for high-risk applications, can help slow down the rate of erosion and extend liner service life to a normal overhaul period.
An alternative method is to identify the root cause – engine vibrations.
Reducing engine vibrations by making sure the fuel injection is set to the manufacturer’s specification and the engine speed governing is working properly, will help minimise the problem. Adhering to the engine manufacturer’s specification for coolant additive and coolant pressure will also reduce the amount of cavitation.
Whilst it may not be possible to completely avoid cavitation erosion, best practices can help prolong the functioning lifespan of cylinder liners.