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Bushless small ends

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When we come to describe a 'traditional' racecar con rod for a four-stroke engine, we would imagine a split rod with a bushed small end (or at least many of us would). The bushed small end has been with us for many decades, but the bushless steel con rod is becoming more popular, and bushless rods are a possibility in a number of other materials. As reported in the con rods 'Focus' article in Race Engine Technology (issue 48, August 2010), some rod suppliers have been...

Aerodynamic counterweights

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In the search for increased performance, the common direction of engine development has been to increase engine speed incrementally. While this trend is somewhat on the wane - owing to various regulations such as absolute rpm limits as in Formula One, fuel capacity/flow limits or the NASCAR 'gear rule' - high engine speeds are a good way to raise performance, providing that efficiency can be maintained. With increased engine speeds comes increased component surface speeds, so...

But which gear?

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As a young man (many years ago), although my spelling was never entirely satisfactory, the subject of mathematics never daunted me. Matrix manipulations, Laplace transforms and complex differential equations were as meat and drink to me as I endeavoured to find order in this apparently disordered world. It was only later, as I discovered karting, that this world was slightly shaken, when I lost my ability to count. First, second, third, fourth - the gears would fly by as I accelerated the...

The lower liner seal

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Of the many gaskets and seals in an engine, probably the most annoying and terrifying in equal measure, when it fails, is that at the mid or lower liner. On dry-liner engines this doesn't exist of course, so the product developers can sleep soundly at night. But in wet-liner designs this seal can be the greatest source of nightmares, because when it fails the area is so inaccessible. As ever, it always boils down to issues such as manufacturing cost and trying to keep things simple....

Taking the heat

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In any internal combustion engine, the design or configuration of the cylinder or its liner is of critical concern. Exposed to the full effect of combustion at its upper part, which falls as we go down the cylinder, the component has to be as light as possible yet still retain its mechanical robustness with minimal distortion. As bmep (brake mean effective pressure) and engine speeds increase, cooling therefore assumes a major importance. Open-deck cylinder blocks, where the engine coolant...