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Advanced Metals: Magnesium

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In previous articles on advanced metals, we have looked at a number of materials currently used in motorsport and some which are just starting to be used. In this article, we will look at a material which has, at times, been held up as a 'wonder-material' and at other times almost completely neglected when we consider engine design. Despite this it has been widely used in racing engines for structural and reciprocating parts, and is commonly found on many road vehicles. It is...

KERS - Continuously Variable Transmission

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The continuously variable transmission (CVT) as used by Flybrid, is mounted between two clutches within the KERS unit. The clutches allow for disengagement of the CVT from the flywheel and the vehicle when not in use, and therefore minimises losses. The only mechanism for controlling energy into or out of the flywheel is by controlling the ratio of the CVT. The CVT is responsible for the smooth variation of ratios. The CVT may sometimes be referred to as a Toroidal Continuously Variable...

Bi-metal Journal bearings: Materials and construction

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Traditional main bearing construction is based on a three-layer bearing made of a steel backing, a hard mid layer and a thin overlay of a soft material. The bi-metal bearing is constructed of only two layers, consisting of a steel backing with an inlay of an aluminium alloy. Typical bearing materials used in the construction of bi-metal bearings are a combination of the following materials: Tin, silicon, lead, copper and aluminium. The bearing material may sometimes be described as...

Camshaft duration

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Invariably measured in crankshaft degrees, the duration of any camshaft is generally accepted to be the number of degrees the valve is lifted off its seat to the instant that it shuts again. Ideally it should open instantaneously to its maximum lift and then remain open until it would be closed again equally quickly. This would produce a square shaped valve motion diagram and cause the maximum amount of charge air or exhaust gas to flow. In real life however, the opening and closing are...

Nickel plating

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Nickel plating is a common process, but there are two main methods of producing a thin layer of nickel on the surface of a metallic object. The first is to use a traditional electroplating process whereby the parts to be plated are part of an electric circuit and form the cathodes. A rod of the plating metal is used as an anode. These are immersed into a bath of electrolyte commonly containing a salt of the metal to be plated. In the case of nickel plating, the salt used is Nickel...