Piston-Function, Characteristic, Uses, Advantages and Disadvantages, and Different types of Piston


Are you looking for the Piston? So today we will study the Function, Characteristic, Uses, Advantages, and Disadvantages Different types of the piston. Here you will get the articles of Mechanical Engineering in brief with some key points and you will get to know an enormous amount of knowledge from It. So If you find this articles helpful, please let us know in the comment box, either if any correction required too, also let us know in the comment box.

Briefly explained :

  • A piston is cylindrical in shape and forms the movable portion of the combustion chamber.
  • A piston is a component of reciprocating engines, reciprocating pumps, gas compressors, and pneumatic cylinders among other similar mechanisms.
  • In an engine, it’s purpose is to transfer force from expanding gas in the cylinder to the crankshaft via a piston rod and connecting rod. or 
  • The force due to this pressure is transmitted to the connecting rod via the piston.
  • The below diagram or GIF showed that how the piston works in the cylinder.


  • The connecting rod helps to change the reciprocating motion of a piston into a revolving motion at the crankshaft.
  • Pistons are commonly made of a cast aluminum alloy for excellent and lightweight thermal conductivity. (Thermal conductivity is the ability of a material to conduct and transfer heat). 

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  • Movement of the piston is in the cylinder and transfer force of expanding gas via connecting rod to the crankshaft and from crank to piston in reverse direction.
  • The compressing gas allows injection of fluid in the cylinder.
  • Piston also acts as controlling the valve.
  • It serves as a heat transfer medium to the cylinder walls.
  • It acts as a guide to the small end of the connecting rod.piston


The piston should be strong enough to sustain:

  • Hammering effect of combustion gas pressure,
  • Fluctuating load and
  • A high temperature of the gases.

The piston should be:

  • Light in weight
  • silent in operation and
  • Mechanically strong.

Due to the light weight of the piston:

  • Inertia losses and
  • The inertia loads reduce on the bearing, due to change in motion.

Application or uses of Piston:

  • Reduced inertia also improves the mechanical efficiency of the engine.
  • It compresses the fluid inside the cylinder hence increases the pressure and temperature of the fluid inside the cylinder.
  • It also provides the direction.


  • Mechanical simplicity
  • Flexibility and reliability
  • Power to weight ratio
  • Multi-fuel capability
  • Low turbine operating temperature
  • Less vibration and noise
  • Less maintenance
  • Easy to start the piston
  • Highly suitable for waste heat recovery
  • Give a high degree of maneuverability
  • Less manufacturing cost
  • Low NOx emissions
  • It offers the HCCI combustion process
  • Internally balanced
  • Modularity

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  • Poor fuel economy
  • Stability of fuel supply
  • Poor part load efficiency
  • High combustion rate
  • Reduction gearing is require

Different types of Piston:

  • Taper Pistons
  • Cam ground Pistons
  • Special alloys pistons
  • Wire wound pistons
  • Autothermic pistons
  • Bimetal pistons
  • Cast steel piston
  • Tinned pistons
  • Oil cooled pistons
  • Two-piece pistons

Taper Pistons:

  • This is sometimes turned taper, the diameter of the crown side is smaller than the skirt end.
  • As higher temperature occurs towards the crown, that sides expand more than the skirt, due to which it’s diameter becomes uniform under running conditions.

Cam ground Pistons:

  • Cam ground, such that they have an elliptical section instead of the circular one.
  • The minor diameter of the ellipse lies in the direction of the piston-pin axis.

Special alloys pistons:

  • The special alloy having a low coefficient of expansion.

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