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Titanium as a fastener material

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Titanium is banned in the current Formula One engine regulations from being used for threaded fasteners, despite its attractive attributes for such components. The rules specify that threaded fasteners must be made from alloys based on one of three elements - iron, cobalt or nickel - and this is planned to be carried forward for the new V6 turbo engines we will see in use from 2014 onwards. It should be noted though that there is no similar regulation governing the use of titanium...


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Formula racing in Europe has something of a complex 'ladder' scheme, by which drivers can try to reach Formula One, the pinnacle of the open-wheel sport outside the US. It might equally be described as a climbing frame, where there are many routes one can use to get to the top. The various Formula Renault series though do provide a good graduation scheme, starting with relatively cheap cars powered by four-cylinder engines, through to the top series which, from 2012, is to be powered...

Rolling along

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In the search for ever lower engine friction, it is surely a wonder that the rolling element bearing hasn't featured very highly in recent years. So while ball or roller bearing technology is commonly seen in many engine ancillaries - for example, pumps, starter motors/generators, timing belt tensioners, rocker arms and now even turbochargers - the largest source of rotation friction, that of the crank and camshaft, have largely been avoided. I know two-stroke engines have, and continue...

Desmodromic or demonic?

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I don't know about you but when I was young, my written command of the English language was, shall we say, a bit lacking. "Needs to pay more attention to his spelling," was the end-of-year comment by one of my English teachers. But despite my best efforts - or possibly because of them - a future in the engineering professions seemed to beckon. I mention this because to me the best invention over the past 20 years or so has been the autocorrect option in wordprocessing software...

Plasma-sprayed coatings

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The use of plasma-sprayed coatings has been slow to proliferate; the technique isn't very new, and the range of coatings is immense. Whereas other coating methods can be limited - by solubility of metal salts in electrolytes, for example - plasma coatings are generally limited only by the availability of material in the correct form and the ability of the coating material to be melted. There are a number of sprayed coating methods, distinguished not only by the particular method of...