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Can we manage without big-end bearings?

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The big-end bearing shells that we find in almost all four-stroke racing engines are an item made with great precision. They are generally 'graded' and as such are available in thickness grades which have a range of only a few microns. Moreover, their length is critical in ensuring that the correct pre-load is achieved when fitting. The continuing development of various platings and coatings applied to the bearing shells allow higher pressures than were possible a few years ago....

Oil-hole details

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The fatigue behaviour of a crankshaft is dictated by the service loads it is expected to cope with, its manufacture and its geometry. In numerous articles concerning crankshafts, surface treatments and materials, RET-Monitor has stressed the critical importance of compressive residual stresses for increasing fatigue life, and it is here that the correct selection of material, heat treatment and further processing is of utmost importance. In terms of geometry, there are two types of...

Control freak

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If there is one area of engineering that has simply exploded over the past 30 years or so it is that of control. Where once we had mechanical or electrical devices to manage what few systems were around, these days almost all mechanical systems are controlled by some measure of electronics and computing such that a whole new subject has evolved - that of mechatronics.In the case of a modern race engine, we are all too familiar with the idea of electronics together with a little help from...

Fractured accuracy

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As can be seen from earlier articles in RET-Monitor on race engine block material, a trend can be seen towards Compacted Graphite Iron as a crankcase material. It has been used occasionally in the past on highly loaded motorsport applications but it now seems to have become more widespread. The reasons for this are the higher mechanical strength of the material in relation to increasing combustion loads, and a broader availability of CGI combined with the ability to cast thin-wall...

The Boring Detail

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Last time we looked at ways of producing high-quality cylinder bores. Needless to say, the thinking and methods used might seem extreme to some or insufficient to others. In all this, however, we must always remember that it is not the shape or degree of roundness of the bore that is necessarily important but the degree to which the piston can conform and seal the combustion gases that is perhaps more critical. We can make the bore as circular in cross-section as possible but unless the...