The cylinder walls of the 1999 Porsche 911 are strengthened by a new process called Lokasil, developed by outside supplier KS Kolbenschmidt AG of Germany.
A spongelike tube of pure silicate is cast into the aluminum cylinder banks, then etched to leave tiny valleys for oil to keep the cylinder walls lubricated. Silicon is harder and more durable than aluminum but lighter than conventional iron liners.
The Lokasil process also makes the engine easier to manufacture. In the old 911 engine, silicate was added to the aluminum before casting, which made the entire block stronger but more difficult to machine. With Lokasil, the silicate is localized where it is needed: in the cylinder walls. Porsche says it is the only licensee of the technology.