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Offsetting pin bores

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When laying out a new race engine, the engineer (or team of engineers) will normally never consider anything other than having the cylinder bore axes intersecting the crankshaft axis. Indeed, this is also the layout of most production engines, and has certainly been the norm since the inception of the internal combustion engine. There are reasons why designers of new engines might wish to have the cylinder axis not intersect the crankshaft axis, and these have been used by production...


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There are many components in the internal combustion engine which are subject to sliding contact, and which have to transmit substantial forces through that sliding contact. Some contacts are conformal - that is, the contacting pieces have similar and mating geometry - and hence have low levels of contact stress. A crankshaft operating within its bearings is a good example of this. Other contacts will have no such conformal aspects, and these non-conformal contacts are subject to high...

Combustion analysis

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In high-performance race engines, understanding the processes taking place during each combustion cycle is of great importance to development, be it with the intention of gaining more power, reliability or efficiency. Being able to measure and then analyse the combustion process effectively is a vital tool in allowing engineers to optimise an engine's design. It is often thought that this sort of analysis is the preserve of manufacturers building clean-sheet engine designs, but the...

Composite prop shafts

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GT racing is one of the most challenging motorsport disciplines in terms of the demands it places on components, especially transmissions. These need to be able to deal with a wide range of conditions, from those experienced during short sprint races to full endurance epics such as the Le Mans 24 Hours. One area that is often overlooked though is the means for transmitting drive from the engine to the gearbox, specifically in front-engined, rear-wheel-drive cars. The generally accepted way...

Curved-top tappets

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For those familiar with the design of overhead cam engines, the most common type of cam follower used in bespoke race engines of this type is the solid 'bucket' tappet. These are akin to the flat-faced followers used in pushrod engines, except that the load path is directly from the cam lobe to the lash-cap. They have much to recommend them - they are a geometrically simple part, and lots of people understand how to design and make them. So few people outside Formula One use...