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Rapid prototyping

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In the previous article on the advances in rapid prototyping materials and methods, some possible applications were mentioned, especially for exhausts. Laser-sintered exhaust components have been displayed at trade shows for several years now and there are exhaust companies who have used the method to produce real parts for a few years in both high-temperature materials such as Inconel but also titanium. There are of course other applications for this technology and the increasing range of...

The ‘electric flywheel’

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It seems that there is no middle ground as far as hybrid systems are concerned. They are applied to some of the world’s most mundane passenger cars, where the drivers are so careful in their driving habits that they are unlikely to reap maximum benefit, and they are a must-have in some of the more exotic race cars. Formula One, Le Mans, ALMS, LMES, WEC and JGTC have all taken advantage of the benefits of hybrid technology. In terms of the exact technologies applied to racing hybrid...


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As a general rule the most critical part of the lubrication system in any race engine is perhaps the big-end bearing. To ensure that this big-end bearing remains fully lubricated, the oil pump delivery pressure has to be such as to have overcome all the (pressure) losses down the line, as well as that necessary to overcome any centrifugal effects of the crankshaft. For this pressure to be maintained, the flow from the oil pump needs to make up for the losses through bearing leakage around...

Smooth operator

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In a recent poll of Britain’s sexiest fictional characters, despite it being dominated almost exclusively by men, the top slot was, unsurprisingly, James Bond. The creation of author Ian Fleming, Bond could handle multiple, often complex situations and therefore, it is thought, being in control of the situation, endeared himself to the opposite sex. Described as a ‘smooth operator’ this is indeed the description any designer would wish also to be applied to the profile of...

PVD coatings

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PVD coatings are used very widely, and cover everything from the metallic coating on the inside of crisp packets to the hard engineering coatings such as titanium nitride (TiN) that we are more familiar with. However, we are most interested in the hard-wearing, low-friction coatings that have brought us a number of significant benefits in recent years. If we work in a manufacturing environment, it is quite likely that our first exposure to such coatings would be coated cutting tools....