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The fuel pump

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The function of the fuel supply system in the spark-ignition engine is simple: to supply the correct volume of fuel at the correct pressure appropriate to the method of engine fuelling used. In the case of a carburettor, for instance, this might mean a fuel pressure of no more than 1.5-2 psi (10-15 kPa) pumping the fuel into the carburettor float chamber, from which the fuel will be sucked into the intake air stream. A simple, engine mounted, cam-actuated mechanical lift pump using an...

Supercharger talk

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The idea of boosting engine performance by increasing the density of the intake charge is nothing new. Compensating for poorly designed intake systems may have been the reasoning for their use in the late 19th/early 20th century period, but these days the science of pressure charging the internal combustion engine is not just about power density but increasingly the energy efficiency as well. For simple power density in terms of kilowatts per kilogramme of engine weight, a gas turbine unit...

Turbocharger lubrication

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Thanks to the constant push from legislators towards greater fuel economy and lower emissions, turbo-supercharging is back in vogue with mainstream vehicle manufacturers. The result is that forced-induction engines such as the Ford EcoBoost range are seeing a growing use in production-engined competition vehicles, providing (relatively) low-cost power in a compact package; thanks to the fact most of these new-generation motors follow an I4 configuration. The use of turbo-supercharging...

The piston’s role in combustion efficiency

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We all understand the role of the piston in terms of the general operation of the engine. It is an important part of the pumping mechanism of the engine, drawing in and expelling the working fluid. It is also an important part of the combustion chamber, and it is this function of the piston that we will concentrate on here. The piston crown shape affects the flow of the fuel-air mixture into and around the chamber during the intake stroke. Its shape is particularly important where fuel is...


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Those of you who have read previous articles of mine on surface treatments may have noted a point that I have continually stressed – that residual compressive stresses can have a very beneficial effect on a component’s endurance. One of the most popular processes for doing this is controlled shot-peening. Many engineers are aware of the benefits of controlled shot-peening, but there has been a lack of in-depth understanding of where the benefits come from, and how the process can...