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Big End Design

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After the article last month which looked briefly at the small end of the con rod, we shall look this month at the opposite end of the con rod. Referred to as the ‘big end’ or ‘large end’ this end of the con rod houses the bearings which transfer the piston and con rod loads to the crankshaft. Again we shall concentrate on the type of con rod found in the four-stroke engine typical of Formula One and many other racing series. One of the main jobs that the big end has...

Crankshaft Steels

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As was mentioned in the previous RET Monitor article on crankshafts, it is our belief that nitriding steels are the most commonly, if not exclusively used materials. This month we take a closer look at nitriding steels for crankshaft manufacture, expand a little more on the importance of the ‘cleanliness’ of these types of steel and touch briefly on the benefits of nitriding. The bar-stock used to make an Formula One crankshaft is not necessarily much different from that used in...

Chip crazy

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The silicon chip has made the task of performance engine design incomparably easier. An effective revolution in engine design for both gasoline and diesel units was made possible by close control of fuel and ignition through what were and are rugged on-board computers. For the first decades of engine development, the performance characteristics of the engine were set through the original design: valvetrains, carburation, ignition timing and their relationship to engine revs were the tools...

Keeping a cool head

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There is no doubt about it, the engine in your average family saloon car has come on a long way in the last 30 years. When once we struggled to get 100 bhp out of a 1.6 litre engine, today 100 bhp per litre is now easily achievable. Such are the improvements to the humblest of engines, the latest 1.6 litre Duratec although rated at 100PS (98.6 bhp) in the Ford Fiesta produces the thick end of 160 with only slight changes to the cam and induction / exhaust system. But for 200 bhp per litre...

The Cylinder Liner

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The humble cylinder bore seems to get very little press these days. Arguably the most critical surface in any combustion engine, the inside surface of any cylinder liner is exposed to the full flame temperature and the high pressures of combustion and yet still has to form an almost gas tight seal against the piston ring. And all this we ask with minimum wall thickness and hence minimum weight. While the more modern high performance engine designs might have any form of nickel ceramic...