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Copper materials in bearings

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Plain bearings come in a huge range of sizes, and in dealing with engines we will be familiar with a number of different types. The simplest are the cylindrical bush types which we see in various guises, most notably as con rod bushes and valve guides. Con rod bushes and valve guides are most commonly alloys of copper. In the case of the small-end bush, these see relatively little sliding but high loads. The valve guide experiences little load but intermittent sliding. Copper alloys also...

KERS: power electronics

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Whenever we hear about Formula One KERS systems, or the much-vaunted hybrid systems as used at Le Mans and in a growing number of roadcars, many of us imagine a large alternator being used to change mechanical energy into electrical energy (or vice versa) and a battery for converting the electrical energy into chemical energy and provide short-term storage. There is a third, very important, module that is part of a typical racing KERS system, and this is the power electronics. The aim here...

A bit of a crush

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To those who travel regularly on a mass transit rail network like the London Underground or New York Subway, the term 'crush' will have its own and possibly unpleasant associations. Packed tightly into a carriage just as one more person squeezes in before the doors close, the experience (particularly at peak travelling times) is not quickly forgotten. But when applied to the technology of shell bearings, 'crush' is not just nice to have, it is absolutely essential. When...

Follower friction

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In these days of soaring fuel prices the top priority for any engine manufacturer is the responsible use of scarce resources. Specific fuel consumption or the amount of fuel used per unit power output per hour is the measure of the task, and a major enemy of this is friction. But when it comes to low-friction engines the experts in this field are not, as you might expect, from the race engine industry No, the real experts in this area, in my opinion, are the OE engine manufacturers, whose...

Piston skirt coatings

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If you attend a motorsport trade show and look at the pistons on offer, you will see that a number of them have a coating (or sometimes more than one coating). More often than not, where a single coating is applied to a piston, it will be a skirt coating. Piston skirt coatings are very commonly used, and the practice is not just a recent phenomenon. There are a number of reasons for the use of a coating on a piston skirt. The conclusion many people will jump to is that they are primarily...