Cryogenic Treatment for Engines 1

Cryogenic Treatment for Engines


Cryogenic treatment for engines relieves residual stresses in the metal caused by casting, forging, or machining operations. This one-time, permanent process improves the microstructure of the engine metal and imparts greater strength and endurance. Cryogenically treated engine blocks and engine parts are also more wear resistant and have better thermal properties for greater heat dissipation.

Whether you’re a weekend racer, a classic car owner, or part of a NASCAR team, cryogenic treatment can help the engine in your high-performance vehicle to meet the demands of higher horsepower and greater torque. By relieving stresses within the metal, cryo treatment can prevent warping and distortion while reducing susceptibility to fracture and fatigue. This cryogenic process is suitable for popular engine block materials and helps drivers to get results even under extreme conditions. 

How Cryogenic Treatment Works – and Why

Cryogenic treatment modifies the microstructure of metals by subjecting them to ultra-cold temperatures as low as –300°F. First, an operator puts the engine block, pistons, crankshafts, and other engine parts to be treated inside a sealed chamber. Liquid nitrogen is introduced, and the temperature is lowered slowly until it reaches cryogenic levels. This subfreezing condition is maintained for several hours before the temperature is slowly raised again.

Cryogenic engine treatment is used with heat-treated steels, cast irons, and other metals. When steel or cast iron are hardened, the heat that’s applied causes the atoms of iron and carbon to form austenite, which has a relatively soft granular structure. Even after heat treatment is complete, austenite still contains weak spots, voids, and imperfections. As Engine Builder magazine explains, “all heated treated steels have a percentage of allowable austenite that is retained during the heat treating process.”

By reducing the residual austenite in the engine metal, cryogenic treatment produces a more uniform crystalline structure. This reduction in imperfections can be observed with an X-ray or microscope. Compared to austenite, martensite is stronger and more durable. Martensite is also more wear-resistant because the metal’s carbon structure is transformed into eta-carbides. That’s especially important in engines because parts such as pistons and crankshafts move repeatedly and under high-heat conditions.

Cryogenic Engine Treatment Case Study

Nitrofreeze® cryogenically treated the entire Chevy 292 Straight 6 engine for a customer named Leo. The powerplant for his 1954 Studebaker is equipped with a turbocharger that allows this classic car to reach over 1000 horsepower. In mathematical terms, horsepower is the force needed to move 550 pounds one foot in a second, or 33,000 pounds one foot in a minute. Engines with greater horsepower also have greater potential torque, an expression of rotational or twisting force.     

As this video shows, Leo’s Studebaker completed the quarter-mile on a New England racetrack in less than ten seconds. After all, his turbocharged Chevy 292 Straight 6 engine isn’t just fast. It’s the fastest in the United States. Moreover, Leo’s vehicle competed for two racing seasons without an issue. Higher horsepower and torque add heat and stress, so drivers like Leo want engines that can withstand racing conditions.

Cryogenic treatment for engines supports better performance under demanding conditions. If you’d like to learn more about cryo treatment for your engine, contact Nitrofreeze® at the phone number and email listed below.

(508) 459-7447 x109 |