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Low-density, high-strength alloys

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In a previous article on aluminium-beryllium, we looked at how its combination of low density, stiffness and thermal conductivity makes it ideal for pistons. As I explained though, the material - for Formula One at least - is now prohibited, and outside Formula One, there is perhaps little appetite for using it. Besides pistons, I mentioned a number of other applications where aluminium-beryllium might be considered, including static applications. In this article we will look briefly at...

A reminder of the first Le Mans KERS effort

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There has been much time, effort and money expended in bringing kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) to Formula One. The much-heralded introduction saw many of the teams developing a system at great expense and not choosing to race it, or those racing with KERS not really seeing a huge benefit. At the end of the 2009 race season, the media seemed to be of the opinion that the team that had achieved most from KERS, having used the most successful system, was McLaren. Its KERS system was...

Why and when to develop an equivalent for leaded bearing materials?

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In the July 2010 issue of RET-Monitor, keyword: bearings, I wrote about lead-free bearings and possible engineering concerns surrounding their introduction. Extending the search for the reasons behind why the substitute for leaded bearing materials is not yet embraced by the race engineers led to a short interview with a leading supplier of competition bearing shells. In addition to possible sensitivity issues concerning roundness (shape and steps in the circumference of the bearing bore)...

Camshaft surface finish

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The complex interaction of components that represents the valvetrain operates in some of the most difficult tribological circumstances. With rapid changes in instantaneous direction between adjacent parts, and high contact stresses, the challenge of maximising the output of the engine while maintaining an acceptable level of reliability has never been more onerous. While it is true that the vast majority of camshaft wear takes place during cold start and warm-up, when the temperature of...

Thermal dispersion coatings

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In the recent coatings Focus article in Race Engine Technology (Issue 47, June/July 2010), there was brief mention of thermal dispersion coatings. The aim of these coatings is to eliminate surface 'hot spots' on components and thereby equalise the temperature. Their most common use is on cooling system components, although one supplier we spoke to said one of his customers found success using the coating on aluminium connecting rods, making them less prone to failure. In terms of...