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Titanium crankshafts

It is said that humble pie is never a pleasant dish to eat. However, on this occasion, eat it I must. Only last year, in an article for RET-Monitor on the subject of crankshafts, I asked the question "Why Not Titanium?". The reasons given in the article as to why titanium crankshafts are not used are certainly valid. Titanium's low elastic modulus compared to steel means that, in order to be sufficiently stiff, a titanium crankshaft must be larger in section, and this means...

Electric motors

Although many racing series restrict engine performance by imposing intake air restrictors, such as Formula Three or the various endurance series and the Le Mans race, others are a fixed maximum displacement, such as MotoGP, NASCAR and Formula One. The race for greater power means a relentless drive for higher engine speeds. Fixed torque (assuming a certain level of volumetric efficiency and natural aspiration), thanks to fixed displacement, means that increased power comes about through...

Bearing lubrication


The total friction in an engine is the sum of that emanating from a number of different sources operating at a range of widely varying conditions. Temperature, load, surface condition and shear rate are all implicated in this total amount of friction generated, and depending on how these parameters relate, a particular set of components will produce more or less of it. The engine lubricant, of course, is primarily intended to reduce this friction and hence the wear in a component and...

Talk to turn

The most glamorous part of any engine development programme is that of establishing the wide-open throttle engine performance. Producing the maximum bmep (brake mean effective pressure) over the usable range of engine speeds, the torque curve can be manipulated to give either out-and-out top-end power or, if driveability is more your concern, a more even distribution of torque over the engine speed range. One way this engine torque (read bmep) can be manipulated is by altering the camshaft...

Thermal barrier coatings

We have discussed a number of applications for thermal barrier coatings in RET-Monitor, and also in RET magazine. Most of these are concerned either with maintaining the heat within the exhaust gas flow for improving turbocharger transient response or minimising the transfer of heat through radiation or convection to other components close to the exhaust system. Where coating the exhaust isn't possible, then coating heat-sensitive components or the heat shields protecting them is...