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Under the microscope

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The article on Advanced Metals last month briefly touched on some materials which have been tried and tested in Formula One with varying degrees of success, and in this article we shall look a little deeper at some of the materials currently being used or under investigation, and examine how these differ from the more traditional grades used. Whilst Formula One is frozen at present in terms of introduction of new materials owing to the homologation of the engines, we should not fool...

The KERS of power

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Television coverage of this years Formula One races has captured some textbook examples of a KERS equipped driver out accelerating a conventionally powered car on the straight. And yet, as mid-season approaches no KERS equipped car has won a Formula One race, or set pole position, and only two teams are still running with it, the rest having either rejected its use or never planned to run it in the first place The 2009 Formula One regulations restrict the energy available from KERS to 400...

Bearings go round and round

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SKF Automotive is well regarded for its work in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, where it produces camshaft bearings used by major teams in this upper level racing. Still, the Plymouth, Michigan manufacturer has interests beyond the scope of recognized motor sport. SKF is one of the major backers of the local University of Michigan solar-powered race car. The University of Michigan solar team’s Continuum competed in an 1800-mile race across the Australian outback in 2008 and...

Micro texturing camshaft surfaces

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A new concept from the French Surface preparation and coating specialist HEF promises to enhance performance at the cam/tappet interface by altering surface micro-topography. In high pressure applications the lubricant film separating two surfaces can be so thin it is little deeper than surface roughness, even where the components have been super-finished. “Clearly therefore micro-topography of surfaces can have a great influence on performance,” remarks HEF R&D specialist...

Coat of many colours

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One of the more interesting uses of coatings is to apply solid lubricants as a substitute for liquid lubricants. The solid lubricant that is used is normally a complex mixture that can include silver, molybdenum and various binding compounds. In the 1980’s and 1990’s US defence budgets encouraged the development of a range of coatings of all sorts and the solid lubricant found a use for example in a NASA project for a fully recirculating, non-air breathing engine. A Wankel unit...