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Flexibility and friction

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Anyone involved in the development of a race engine understands the basics of performance improvement. We want to trap as much air as possible in the combustion chamber, mix with it the amount of fuel that will reliably give best power, burn it as efficiently as possible and turn as much of the resulting energy as we can into mechanical power. Much of the energy released as a result of combustion is lost to the cooling system or out of the exhaust, but there are also substantial mechanical...

Connecting it all together

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Weight is the enemy of the performance car – how many times do we hear that in motorsport circles? But if we are paranoid about the weight of the chassis, engine, gearbox and all the other ancillary bits and pieces – even the paint on a car – then we need to consider the wiring loom as well. One way of course to rid ourselves of this parasite (for that’s what it is) is to dispense with as much wiring as possible – shorter wiring ‘runs’, thinner...

Not an O-ring, but in principle still an O-ring?

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Whenever we mention O-rings everyone knows what we mean – those small black rubber rings, the simplest gaskets you can get. Or so we assume. Since the O-ring was first developed, a long time ago now, enormous strides have been made in its engineering. Ongoing material development has increased its range of applications, while better production toolings and processes have improved its dimensional stability and mechanical robustness. An O-ring is one of the most robust sealing concepts,...

NASCAR – exhaust of tomorrow, and further on

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Exhaust systems can sometimes be a ‘forgotten component’ in a racing powertrain – some people pay them scant attention when it comes to performance, although they can offer real advantages. In NASCAR, the rules have been stable for a long time, but this does not mean exhaust development has come to a halt. With the introduction by NASCAR of the Car of Tomorrow (CoT) for the top-level Sprint Cup series, and the various developments that have followed, teams have had to look...

The importance of washers

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In a bolted joint, the design of the fasteners is responsible for the proportion of the service load borne by the fastener, and the theoretical ratio of torque or tightening angle to load is influenced strongly by the dimensions of the nuts, bolts and studs and by the coefficient of friction acting between them. Much effort is put into fastener design, but washers are often neglected in terms of design, although they can have a very positive effect on the reliability of the system. As is...