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Form in place

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Form-in-place gasket technology is becoming widely available. Every time an engine builder has to lay a silicon bead on a head gasket, he finds himself muttering, “There has to be a better way to do this!”, as he wipes the goo off his fingers. Excess silicone sealant inevitably squeezes out at the joint, creating a freestanding bead of material that is held in place solely by a very thin film at the seal joint, creating the perfect opportunity for it to fatigue off and find its...

Exhaust Materials

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There are a wide range of materials from which racing exhausts are made today and the choice depends largely on budget, although some of the very expensive materials available aren’t used because they either aren’t mature enough or engineers haven’t yet figured out how to use them. Whilst there are a lot of exhaust systems still being made in steel, it isn’t as widely favoured as it once was for a number of reasons. The obvious one is that it corrodes very easily....

Back to Basics - Part 2

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In the previous article, we looked at the relationship between tightening torque and axial force developed, and a formula was given which included the effects of those parameters which, as engine designers, you are most likely to want to change. In this article, we shall look at the effects of cyclic loading – it is necessary to understand this in order to determine the proper pre-load. This process of doing fatigue calculations and checking that the pre-load is sufficient is an...

Protect and Survive

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There was a time when simply using the correct grade of oil for your engine and changing it regularly would be all that was needed. Back in the days of the nuclear family, life was simple and we knew that our cam’s lobes were protected even if a nuclear war was potentially just around the corner at ‘five minutes to midnight’. Approaching the second decade of the 21st century and while the prospect of nuclear war has almost disappeared, the threat to some of our camshafts...

Top Gear

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Few of us give our oil pump a second’s thought. So long as that big red light on the dashboard keeps going out at the required time and doesn’t flash too much when the engine is hot and idling, then all would seem to be well. But the poor old engine designer, when setting out at the initial design stage, has much to think about. To begin with, he realises his engine will need lubricating oil flow to the main and big end bearing assemblies. Notice the word flow and not pressure....