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Previous articles have mentioned a few materials that are used for pistons, and the subject was also covered in a recent Race Engine Technology article on pistons. But there is one material that has been hailed by one piston design expert I spoke to as being ideal here - aluminium-beryllium. Blessed with a combination of desirable properties that may be present individually in other materials, it would almost certainly have been the material of choice now, had it not been banned by the...

KERS spreads its wings

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So far, KERS systems have received a mixed response in Formula One. Initially the technology was eagerly tested by the teams but during its first full season in Formula One (2009), it was regularly used by only a few. In truth, Formula One KERS still have some way to go before their advantages sufficiently outweigh the disadvantages, so it is perhaps in their wider application in motorsport that they will be fine-tuned and their advantages eventually fully exploited. For the first time,...

Bearing the load

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In most motorsport applications, bearings have had to cope with increasing loads as the requirements for higher performance of engine, gearbox and suspension components continues to increase. Recalling his days at Tyrrell, Renault's Formula One chief designer Tim Densham says, "Normally you would just open the SKF book and pick out standard bearings for most of the shafts." Things have moved on somewhat from those days, although even then some companies did make custom bearings...

Variable Duration Camshafts

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Given enough time in engine research and development, only someone who is very blinkered could say they've never come across something a bit, shall we say, unusual. Devices to increase fuel economy substantially tend to be the norm here. Now and again I get a full-size drawing of an engine concept, and invariably the sender is looking for introductions or funding. This month, however, I have a camshaft, and for once its owner/designer has sent me the actual component, which looks...

Further Applications of Polymer Coatings in Racing Engines

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In a previous article on polymer coatings, I considered their application to pistons. Using polymer coatings on piston skirts remains popular for reducing friction and improving running-in behaviour. They have also been used for the rapid development of optimised piston skirt profiles, and this has been discussed in peer-reviewed technical literature. This month we shall look at some of the past and present applications of polymer coatings in racing engines besides piston skirts, although...