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In terms of engine development leading materials development, modern gas turbines are an excellent example. Since the days of Sir Frank Whittle, these engines have been able to progress only through parallel development of materials that are capable of operating at ever-increasing temperatures and at higher levels of stress. Such high-temperature materials are not just fancy steels; in comparison even to very highly alloyed stainless steels they contain very little iron, if any at all....

Brushless permanent magnet motors

If we look at the high end of the market as far as racecar alternators are concerned, we see very special productions by only a few manufacturers. Such alternators are chosen for a number of reasons, not least of which is their notable compactness. They are permanent magnet machines, and can be found nestled alongside the engines in Formula One cars. The same technology is used widely in industry and the military, and is also commonly found in various hybrid systems, including those used...

Dirty talk

It's an interesting but nevertheless slightly surprising fact that the vast majority of premature bearing failures in engines are as a direct consequence of the presence of dirt. Such were the conclusions of a report I read recently, and while lack of lubrication, misalignment, overloading and corrosion all figured in the findings, well over 50% of all bearing-related engine failures recorded were put down to foreign bodies in the lubrication system. Now before we start reading too...

Camshaft care

It is sometimes easy to forget that after all the efforts a cam manufacturer makes in producing his products, the greatest cause of failure is not in the installation or its timing but in the first few seconds and minutes of its active life. It's a sobering thought but no matter how fine the surface finish or accurate the machining, inevitable imperfections - however slight - will lead to contact high spots at first run. Unless these are carefully ground down in a controlled way in the...

Thermal barriers

Many of the applications discussed in the RET-Monitor articles where thermal barrier coatings are concerned have been on the subject of exhausts. Thermal barrier coatings here have the aim of reducing radiated heat, although in some cases a benefit of such coatings can be to improve the efficiency of the turbocharger turbine by retaining heat within the exhaust flow rather than rejecting it to atmosphere prior to the turbine. There are other applications of thermal barrier coatings which...