What is Rocker Arms?
A rocker arm is one of the automotive parts in the internal combustion engine. As the arm is worked on by a camshaft lobe, it pushes open either an intake or exhaust valve. This allows fuel and air to be drawn into the combustion chamber during the intake stroke or exhaust gases to be expelled during the exhaust stroke. Rocker arms have been invested for more than two hundred years and Its function has been changed little since then. During the developing of rocker arms, Both the operation efficiency and production material are keeping improved. Many modern rocker arms are made of drop forging process with material 42CrMo or other alternative materials.
How do Rocker Arms Work?
In many internal combustion engines, rotational motion is induced in the crank shaft as the pistons cause it to rotate. This rotation is translated to the camshaft via a belt or chain. In turn, lobes on the camshaft are applied to push open the valves via rocker arms. This can be achieved either through direct contact between a camshaft lobe and rocker arm or indirectly though contact with a lifter driven pushrod.
Overhead cam engines have lobes on the camshaft which contact each rocker arm directly, while overhead valve engines utilize lifters and pushrods. In overhead cam engines, the camshaft can be located in the head, while overhead valve engines have the camshaft in the block. Both varieties are seen in the US, but regulations have contributed to the decline of overhead valve applications elsewhere in the world.
Throughout the application of the rocker arm, its function has been studied and improved upon. These improvements have resulted in arms that are both more efficient and more resistant to wear. Some designs can actually use two rocker arms per valve, while others utilize a “rundle” roller bearing to depress the valve. These variations in design can result in rocker arms that look physically different from each other, though every arm still performs the same basic function.
Since energy is required to move a rocker arm and depress a valve, their weight can be an important consideration. If a rocker arm is excessively heavy, too much energy will be required to move. This may prevent the engine from achieving the desired speed of rotation. The strength of the material can also be a consideration, as weak material may stress or wear too quickly. Many automotive applications make use of forged steel for these reasons, as this material can balance the weight and durability.