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Chapter 10: Engine Gasket

10 Engine Gasket

Summary 136

Introduction 137

Requested Solutions 137

Model Details 137

FEM Solution 138

Modeling Tip 143

Input File(s) 144

Video 144
136 MD Demonstration Problems

Title Chapter 10: Engine Gasket
Features Glued contact, MPC’s for bolt modeling, Gasket material

gasket ring

gasket body

Cylinder diameter: 24 mm . Engine block width, breadth and height: 93.1 mm , 70 mm and
15 mm . Cylinder head thickness: 3 mm . Bolt diameter: 8 mm . Bolt head diameter:
14 mm . Gasket ring thickness: 1 mm ; gasket body thickness: 0.9091 mm

Material properties Linear elastic material for the engine block, cylinder head and bolts,
E engine = E head = E bolt = 2.1 10 MPa  engine =  head =  bolt = 0.3
Isotropic in-plane
behavior of the gasket: E body = 120 MPa , E ring = 100 MPa ,  body =  ring = 0 . Transverse
shear moduli of the gasket: G body = 40 MPa , G ring = 35 MPa . Out-of-plane elastic-plastic
behavior of the gasket defined by loading and unloading curves.
Analysis type Quasi-static analysis
Boundary conditions Symmetry conditions in ZX-plane: u y = 0 . Bottom of engine block fully clamped:
u x = u y = u z = 0 . Glued contact between gasket and cylinder head, gasket and engine
block, and bolts and cylinder head.
Applied loads Prescribed shortening of the bolts l = 0.175 mm .
Element type 3-D 8-node hexahedral and 3-D 6-node pentahedral solid elements
Contact properties Glued contact with extended tangential contact tolerance at sharp corners
FE results Bolt forces and stresses in the gasket
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Engine Gasket

A gasket is assembled between an engine block and a cylinder head. The loading of the assembled structure consists
of pre-tensioning the bolts connecting the cylinder head and the engine block. Striking features in this analysis are the
MPCs used to load the bolts, the geometry and material description of the gasket, and the use of the contact algorithm
to establish contact constraints between the grids of the gasket and the cylinder head and the engine block and between
the grids of the bolts and the cylinder head.

Requested Solutions
A numerical analysis will be performed to find the forces in the bolts and the response of the gasket in terms of gasket
closure versus gasket pressure.

Model Details
The gasket actually consists of two parts: the so-called gasket ring and the gasket body. These parts have different
material properties and thicknesses. Assigning different material properties is straightforward, but modeling different
thicknesses would require different finite element meshes for the ring and the body. Since this is inefficient from a
modeling perspective, it is allowed to include both parts in one connected set of finite elements and to define the
thickness difference as an initial gap. In the numerical analysis, this implies that as long as the thickness reduction of
gasket element integration points is smaller than the initial gap, there will be no stress in the thickness direction. In
Figure 10-1, a detailed view of the actual versus the modeled gasket geometry is shown.

initial gap

Figure 10-1 True Gasket Geometry (left) and Modeled Geometry (right)

The material behavior of a gasket is generally rather complex to characterize using conventional material models.
Instead, a special gasket material model is adopted, which de-couples the in-plane and thickness behavior. The
in-plane behavior is assumed to be linear and defined by Young’s modulus and Poisson’s ratio. The behavior in
thickness direction is nonlinear and defined by experimentally determined loading and unloading curves, where the
gasket pressure is measured as a function of the gasket closure. This gasket closure is given by the change in distance
between the top and the bottom face of the gasket. The loading and unloading curves for the gasket ring and the gasket
body are shown in Figure 10-2.
138 MD Demonstration Problems

Figure 10-2 Material Behavior in Thickness Direction for the Gasket Body and Ring

In order to apply pre-tensioning on the bolts, they are piece wise modeled by two parts, one upper and one lower part,
obtained by a fictitious cut. The grids of the lower and the upper part of this cross section are connected using MPC’s
to a so-called control grid. Calling the displacement of a grid in the lower part u lower , the displacement of a grid in the
upper part u up per and the displacement of the control grid u control , then the MPC reads:

u control = u lower – u upper

By assigning all the grids in the lower and upper part of the section of a bolt to the same control grid, one can easily
define the shortening of a bolt by prescribing u control . As a result, the total bolt force is found as the reaction force on
the control grid.

FEM Solution
The numerical solution has been obtained with MD Nastran’s SOL 400 for the element mesh shown in Figure 10-3
using 3-D 8-node hexahedral and 6-node pentahedral elements. Based on symmetry, only half of the structure is

bolt cross section

bolt cross section

Figure 10-3 Element Mesh applied in the MD Nastran Simulation

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Engine Gasket

In total, four deformable contact bodies are used. The first deformable body consists of all elements of the gasket
including the gasket body and ring. The cylinder head defines the second deformable body. The third deformable body
contains the elements of the engine block. Finally, the fourth deformable body consists of the upper and lower parts
of the bolts. The deformable contact bodies are identified as 3-D bodies referring to the BSURF IDs 1, 2, 3 and 4:
BSURF 1 285 286 287 288 289 290 291
292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299
BSURF 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
BSURF 3 670 671 672 673 674 675 676
677 678 679 680 681 682 683 684
BSURF 4 967 968 969 970 971 972 973
974 975 976 977 978 979 980 981

In addition to the BCBODY option to define the deformable contact bodies, the BCTABLE option will be used to
• which grids are to be treated as slave grids and which as master grids in the multipoint constraints for
deformable-deformable contact;
• glued contact between the gasket and the cylinder head;
• glued contact between the gasket and the engine block;
• glued contact between the bolts and the cylinder head.
Compared to the cylinder head and the engine block, the gasket has the finest mesh and is also relatively soft. In
general, it is recommended to use the grids of the contact body with the finest mesh as the slave grids in the MPCs
used to solve the contact problem. If the mesh density in the contact area is comparable, then the grids of the softest
body should be chosen as the slave grids. In the current simulation, grids of the gasket and the bolts are selected as
slave grids, which is done using the BCTABLE option. This option is also used to activate glued contact conditions, so
that both relative normal and tangential displacements in the contact areas are prohibited:
SLAVE 1 0. 0. 0. 0. 1 0.
1 2 0
SLAVE 1 0. 0. 0. 0. 1 0.
1 0 0
SLAVE 4 0. 0. 0. 0. 1 0.
1 0 0
140 MD Demonstration Problems

Besides indicating the slave nodes and glued conditions, the first SLAVE MASTER combination also activates the
extended tangential contact tolerance. The reason to use this is motivated by the coarse mesh of the cylinder head (see
Figure 10-4) compared to the gasket. By activating the extended tangential contact tolerance, all grids at the top of the
gasket are found to be in contact with the cylinder head.

grid outside contact surface

Figure 10-4 Detail of the FE mesh to illustrate the delayed slide off option

In order to activate the full nonlinear formulation of the 3-D isotropic elements (cylinder head, engine block and bolts),
the nonlinear property extension of the PSOLID entry is used:
PSOLID 3 5 0
PSLDN1 3 5 1 +
MAT1 5 210000. .3 1. 1.5-5

Where the isotropic material definition is straightforward, the gasket behavior needs more attention. Here, the MATG
entry is used. For the gasket body, the definition is:
PSOLID 1 2 0
PSLDN1 1 1 1 NO +
MAT1 2 120. 60. 1. 5.-5
MATG 1 2 0 1 2
52. 72.
35. .090909
0. 0. .027 2.08 .054 8.32 .081 18.72
.108 33.28 .135 52. .175 56. ENDT
.1 0. .1225 5.04 .1375 14. .1525 27.44
.16 35.84 .1675 45.36 .175 56. ENDT

The PSLDN1 entry refers to the PSOLID with ID number 1 and activates the solid continuum composite element
formulation via the SLCOMP option. The material ID number 2 of the MATG entry refers to MAT1 ID number 2 to
define the in-plane (membrane) behavior of the gasket material. The loading curve is defined by the table with ID
number 1, while the unloading curve is defined by the table with ID number 2. In general, up to ten unloading curves
can be referred to, but in this example only one unloading curve is used. The onset of irreversible behavior of the gasket
material is defined by a yield pressure of 52 MPa (see also Figure 10-2). As soon as the corresponding gasket closure
CHAPTER 10 141
Engine Gasket

has been exceeded, the unloading behavior will be interpolated between the loading and the unloading curve. The
tensile modulus (in case the gasket would be loaded in tension) is set to 72 MPa and the transverse shear modulus to
35 MPa. The initial thickness difference between the gasket ring and gasket body is reflected by the initial gap of
0.090909 mm.
The control grids for the bolt pre-tensioning, 4083 and 4095, are defined by:
GRID 4083 -36.04921.31545 20.515 5
GRID 4095 36.0492 1.31545 20.515 6
CORD2R 5 -36.04921.31545 20.515 -36.0492-40.183220.515
5.44948 1.31545 20.515
CORD2R 6 36.0492 1.31545 20.515 36.0492 -40.183220.515
77.5479 1.31545 20.515

Using these control grids, the MPC entries are:

MPC 22 4084 1 1. 3924 1 -1.
4083 1 -1.
MPC 22 4085 1 1. 3930 1 -1.
4083 1 -1.
MPC 22 4086 1 1. 3936 1 -1.
4083 1 -1.
MPC 22 4104 3 1. 1966 3 -1.
4095 3 -1.
MPC 22 4105 3 1. 1972 3 -1.
4095 3 -1.
MPC 22 4106 3 1. 1978 3 -1.
4095 3 -1.

Alternatively, as of version MD 2010, the BOLT option can be used. Although the kinematic constraints involved are
the same, the BOLT option has the following advantages:
• the input format is more concise;
• the option is easier to use in a contact analysis.
When the MPC entries are used, the user defined MPC's may easily be conflicting with MPC's introduced by the
contact algorithm, thus causing the contact constraints to be skipped. On the other hand, when the elements at both
sides of the cross section are included in the same contact body, then the BOLT option causes the contact algorithm to
treat this cross section in a special way, Consequently, grid points at the boundary of the cross section can touch
another contact body, while grid points touching the body with the cross section can slide along this body, even when
the cross section has to be passed.
Using the same control grids as mentioned above, the input of the BOLT entries is:
BOLT 1 4083
TOP 3924 3930 3936 3942 3948 3954 3960
3966 3972 3978 3984
BOTTOM 4084 4085 4086 4087 4088 4089 4090
4091 4092 4093 4094
BOLT 2 4095
TOP 1918 1924 1930 1936 1942 1948 1954
1960 1966 1972 1978
BOTTOM 4096 4097 4098 4099 4100 4101 4102
4103 4104 4105 4106
142 MD Demonstration Problems

The SPCDs defining the shortening of the bolts are:

SPCD 1 4083 2 .175

SPCD 1 4095 2 .175

The nonlinear procedure used is defined via the NLPARM entry:


Here the FNT option is selected to update the stiffness matrix during every recycle using the full Newton-Raphson
iteration strategy. Convergence checking is performed based on displacements, forces, and work. For all criteria, the
default error tolerance is used. In order to avoid bi-sections, the field MAXDIV is set to 10.
Figure 10-5 shows a plot of the displacement magnitudes in the structure corresponding to the maximum pre-
tensioning of the bolts. The expected symmetry in the solution is clearly present.

Figure 10-5 Displacement Contours at Maximum Bolt Pre-tensioning

The values of the bolt force as a function of the bolt shortening are depicted in Figure 10-6 and clearly show a
nonlinear response. The bolt force is found as the reaction force on grid 4083.
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Engine Gasket

5000 Bolt Force (N)




Bolt Shortening (mm)
0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20

Figure 10-6 Bolt Force as a Function of the Bolt Shortening

Finally, Figure 10-7 displays the gasket pressure as a function of the gasket closure, both for the gasket ring and the
gasket body. As explained before, the gasket body has an initial gap which explains that the gasket pressure remains
zero until this gap is closed. The fact that the gasket pressure seems to already be nonzero for a gasket closer smaller
than the initial gap value (0.090909 mm) is due to the finite number of steps (10). Neither the gasket ring nor the gasket
body is loaded yet beyond the yield stress.

Figure 10-7 Gasket Pressure as a Function of the Gasket Closure

Modeling Tip

Contact Body Definition

Since the mesh of the engine block and the lower part of the bolts is a continuous mesh, the automated contact
algorithm will not be able to find a unique boundary description at the interface of the engine block and the bolts. This
is reflected by messages like:

warning: node 1407 belongs to bodies 3 4.

for the contact algorithm it will belong to body 3 only.
144 MD Demonstration Problems

Although, in the current example, this will not affect the results (there will be no contact detection between the engine
block and the bolts), it is generally not recommended. Instead, one should either make sure that the lower part of the
bolts are separated from the engine block or include only the upper part of the bolts in the contact body definition.

Input File(s)
File Description
nug_10.dat Engine Gasket with MPC option
nug_10_bolt.dat Engine Gasket with BOLT option

Click on the image or caption below to view a streaming video of this problem; it lasts approximately 47 minutes and
explains how the steps are performed.

bolt cross section

bolt cross section

Figure 10-8 Video of the Above Steps