Volvo Trucks (which is, actually, a separate company from Volvo Cars) is forging ahead with new design innovations intended to reduce particle emissions and further improve fuel economy. The latest of these innovations is called the Wave Piston, and it’s packing some pretty clever tech into its new shape.
By simply changing the shape of the piston wall used in Volvo’s truck engines, Volvo engineers were able to change the way fuel ignites inside an engine. The new design counteracts the way flame fronts “compete” for oxygen in a conventional engine by leading the flame towards the center of the combustion chamber instead of towards the cylinder walls. The result of the Wave Piston effect is a much cleaner burn, more power per unit of fuel used, and fewer emissions to boot!
All of those benefits are realized thanks to the inclusion of six simple ridges forged into the Wave Piston crown. When the fuel injector spray is diverted into these ridges- as opposed to the center of the combustion chamber- the “combustion waves” created expand outward in concert.
It’s a neat trick, and Kudos to Volvo for spending the thousands of hours of simulation time in CFD needed to get the Wave Piston effect right. You can read more about it in the official Volvo Trucks press release.