Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 247–249 | Cite as

Failure of a Cast Aluminum Engine Head in a High Performance Application

  • Robert Tuttle
Case History


The investigation described in this article examined a cast aluminum head used in a high performance (drag racing) application. These engine heads had been failing within a few seconds of startup. A sample head was examined to determine the cause. Visual inspection found two cracks on the exhaust side of the head. One crack initiated at the bottom of a spark plug well. The head was then sectioned for metallographic examination and fracture analysis. Metallographic examination revealed a large number of shrinkage pores throughout the casting. The fracture surface intersected many of these shrinkage pores. A significantly sized pore was located near the bottom of the suspect spark plug well near a stress-concentrating feature. This pore acted as the crack-initiating defect, which caused the engine head to fail.


Casting Racing Automotive Porosity Shrinkage 


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Copyright information

© ASM International 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Saginaw Valley State UniversityUniversity CenterUSA

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