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Mixing metals

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With few exceptions, con rods for automotive engines are split at the big end, and the joint is held together by a pair of threaded fasteners. The pattern is much the same for racing con rods, the only common exceptions to this being rods for two-stroke engines or single cylinder four-stroke engines. In these cases the rod has no split at the big end and the crankshaft is made up of two or more pieces. Where the rod is of the usual split type, it is generally the case that the rod and its...

The structural intercooler

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The turbocharger intercooler may have many performance benefits but almost without exception its installation in the vehicle is rarely without considerable compromise. The unit is either mounted close to the power unit, keeping air intake hose lengths and hence intake air volumes short, or it is positioned somewhere outside the engine bay, around the periphery of the vehicle where the flow of cool air required is more plentiful. Mounting it near the engine gives acceptable throttle...

Damping vibration

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One of the main points to consider when designing a cranktrain, or making significant modifications to any of the parts of the cranktrain, is that of vibration – and, most important, torsional vibration. There can be significant mechanical damage associated with cranktrain torsional vibrations; when this occurs, stresses are far in excess of those anticipated during normal operation, and it is not uncommon for crankshafts to break, or for problems to be ‘transmitted’ to the...

Torque control

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To many, the thrill of balancing steering against throttle opening while cornering hard is what motorsport is all about. That feeling of keeping a racecar at the edge of its performance envelope and only inches away from potential disaster may satisfy the most basic primeval instinct, but between driver and oblivion there is a web of maps and algorithms that is becoming more complex as time goes on. At its simplest, the throttle pedal exists as an air valve; opening and closing according...

Contact zone

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It is often said that history repeats itself, to show that we have done it all before. Almost all (new) developments are not really new but mostly improvements of already known concepts. In the business of engine design this seems equally true. Almost all engine concepts have been tried before, some with success, others less so. We humans are a very conservative species, especially when it comes to engines. What we have been doing on internal combustion engines for the past 100-plus years...