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Rapid prototyping

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Until relatively recently, the so-called 'rapid prototype' manufacturing methods were restricted to polymers and some other fairly 'flaky' materials - at least in terms of commercial availability. After the initial polymer materials (some of which are excellent and can be used perfectly well as test and race parts for chassis and engine use) some metal materials became available, though nothing which we might have considered useful for race engine components. In the past few...

Flywheel design

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With all the press coverage of Formula One KERS systems, you might be forgiven for thinking that all racing hybrid systems are of the 'conventional' electric-hybrid type. This is far from the case, and if you look a little deeper, there are a number of systems that are based on mechanical technology rather than electric machines, power electronics and batteries If you want to see real diversity of technology in terms of energy recovery then you need look no further than sportscar...

The overlayer

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There is nothing simple about a modern crankshaft bearing. Often referred to as 'plain' or simple shell bearings, I can assure you that even after 100-plus years of the internal combustion engine - 60 of them since the arrival of the 'thinwall' steel shell - development is still very much ongoing. Running for most of its time under benign, hydrodynamic lubrication, such a bearing nevertheless has to cope with a conflict in characteristics. A bearing has to be strong, being...

Impulsive behaviour

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The Oxford English Dictionary rather politely defines a jerk as "a contemptibly foolish person", and in reality this is probably the definition that most non-engineers would give. However, and to its credit, a more formal definition and one which is perhaps more meaningful to the world of engineering, is that of "a quick, sharp sudden movement". But as engineers we prefer our definitions to be a little more exact, so a better description and one more readily applicable to...


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In an article posted in February 2011 on the subject of coatings, there was a brief discussion of the physical vapour deposition (PVD) method, some of the coatings used in motorsport that are commonly associated with this method, and some of the pitfalls of blindly specifying the latest coating without taking account of the exact type and grade of material being coated. In this article, I'll look into the method in more depth. The method lends itself to a very wide variety of coating...