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Piston strength wins races

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The colours may have changed from red to blue (Budweiser to Copart) at Kenny Bernstein Racing, but the objective never alters. The objective is to build bullet-proof engines that can go down the 1000-foot dragstrip quicker and faster than the car in the other lane. For co-crew chiefs Rob Flynn, Mike Guger and Todd Smith (who came over from Don Prudhomme's Snake Racing after that outfit closed operations at the end of the 2009 season), the objective is to fit the strongest piston...

All of a Flutter

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A phenomenon rarely heard of these days, is that of ring flutter. Manifesting itself in the form of unusual wear characteristics and possibly high exhaust gas blow-by, particularly at light load conditions, ring flutter if left unchecked, can even cause pre-ignition/detonation of the incoming fuel-air charge, eventually leading to piston failure. The solution however, is not always that obvious. You may always hear that the root of the problem is all to do with the acceleration and...

Improving Surface Finish

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In the last article on the subject of surface finish, we looked at some of the important reasons for providing a good level of surface finish. On surfaces involved in sliding contact we can help to ensure that the lubricant film maintained by the basic geometry of the components and their motion is thick enough to keep the high-points or asperities of the two surfaces apart by providing a smoother surface with less peaks, and also peaks which are of a lower height. We also noted that the...

Emission Testing in Motorsport

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Amid all the hype over the past few years of Global Warming or as it has been re-branded now, Climate Change, it won't surprise anyone that motorsport has come in for its own fair share of criticism. Viewed by some as a waste of resources, the sport is now fighting back and where once the word 'power' was king, 'efficiency' now replaces it. But from a motorsport perspective, 'efficiency' can mean many different things but in the final analysis and in today's...

Using tractive effort curves to analyse gearing

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In the last edition of Monitor we introduced the concept of 'Tractive Effort' curves plotted against road speed to analyse performance. Most 'racers' are familiar with using the traditional straight line plot of road speed against engine rpm as a method of choosing ratios. Whilst this gives an indication of maximum speed in each gear and helps to assess the drop in engine rpm associated with changing up into the next ratio, its use is otherwise limited. In particular it...