News Items - Better strength, hardness and light weight: Spyros Panopoulos Automotive manufactures world’s first 3D printed engine piston


May 5, 2022

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Automaker Spyros Panopoulos Automobile has already caused quite a stir with its 78% 3D printed ultracar “Chaos”. To achieve his goals, he uses, among other things, ceramic 3D printing from XJet. With this he has now realized the world’s first, completely additively manufactured, ceramic car engine piston.

Automaker Spyros Panopoulos Automotive (SPA) has unveiled the world’s first ceramic 3D printed car engine piston, according to a press release reached by 3D-limitless magazine. The 3D printing technology from XJet was used , which the company already uses for its Chaos Ultracar.

Spyros Panopoulos, founder and namesake of the company, wants to use the “Chaos” vehicle to reach speeds of over 500 km/h and accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 1.55 seconds. If he succeeds, that would be the fastest revving production engine of all time with up to 12,200 rpm and 3,065 hp.

Optimized properties with “Anadiaplasi” construction method

Components like the piston, created using the “Anadiaplasi” construction method pioneered by Spyros Panopoulos, take their shape based on the forces acting on them. Material is minimized where it does not support performance and added where reinforcement is needed. This also optimizes weight while maintaining part strength and temperature resistance. The result is an organic, complex shape that is light and strong. Here, too, the use of 3D printing proved to be particularly successful.

3D printed piston
78 percent of the body and other important elements of the ultracar are printed in 3D (pictured: pistons)(Image © XJet / SPA).

To realize the design and to achieve the high level of accuracy and surface quality, Panopolous relied on XJet nanoparticle jetting . Together with Lino 3D, an XJet business partner in Greece, SPA selected XJet’s alumina material for the Chaos piston for its strength, hardness, light weight and resistance to thermal expansion.

Panopolous explained: “Ceramic offers many advantages compared to other materials. It is harder and stiffer than steel, more resistant to heat and corrosion than metals or polymers, and weighs significantly less than most metals and alloys. XJet’s alumina parts will withstand the high temperatures expected in the combustion chamber as well as on the fast-moving parts.”

We introduced the SPA project Chaos two years ago. It was already clear to Panopolous there that 3D printing would be used to realize his ambitious, forward-looking projects. A year later we were able to report on 3D printed components for the ultracar. This included parts such as 3D-printed exhaust pipes or crankshafts. Overall, the body should consist of 78% additively manufactured components. We will also report on further developments in the future in the 3D-borderless magazine ( subscribe to the newsletter ).

3D printed piston with rod
SPA realizes the piston (pictured) for the Ultracar Chaos using XJet ceramic 3D printing technology (picture © XJet / SPA).

The partners on the benefits of ceramic 3D printing

Panopolous assured:“Our projects take performance to the extreme and that’s why we’re extremely selective about the materials and technologies we use. I believe this is the first time ceramic AM has been used in motorsport and I feel privileged to be taking this pioneering step.”

Haim Levi, XJet VP Strategic Marketing, says: “SPA is pushing ceramic additive manufacturing and design for AM – DfAM – to the limits and beyond with their work on the Chaos Ultracar. We are very proud to be part of such a project by offering the capabilities of our technology and system. Designers and engineers across a variety of industries and applications are being exposed to new options that are now open to them. We expect the Chaos Project ceramic piston to stimulate their creativity and imagination and push the boundaries in the automotive industry and beyond.”

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