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All screwed up

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As an engineer you must always be looking to improve the product, whether it be to improve its performance, increase reliability or simply make it easier and hopefully cheaper to manufacture. The general term for all this activity is development, and although now a dirty word in any engineering organisation - since it implies that the design wasn't correct in the first place - the sealing of the combustion gases at the split line between the cylinder liner and fire face has always been...

Le Mans exhaust systems

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Race engine exhausts are expected to do a tough job without suffering failure, a job they generally do very well. The results of a broken pipe can be very noticeable for two main reasons - loss of performance and a marked increase in the amount of noise generated, especially on silenced systems where the breakage is upstream of the silencer. With a premium placed on both reliability and system mass, many race exhausts therefore use titanium, stainless steel and Inconel materials. Perhaps...

Nuts: design for increased fatigue resistance

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Nuts are often given little consideration in design, especially compared to the stud onto which they engage. The reason is quite simple: nuts rarely fail unless they are completely unsuitable for the job. What is less commonly understood though is the fact that the nut design can have a critical effect on the fatigue resistance of the stud onto which it fits and the pre-load in which it is responsible for, in cases where stud failure coincides with the first loaded threads in the nut....

The return of Viscosity Index

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At the time of writing, with two high-speed superspeedway events under their belts, oil formulators for NASCAR are at last breathing a sigh of relief. Since the fuel for this year has been revised to include 15% ethanol, subsequent post-race engine oil analysis has shown that there is no unexpected deterioration, and piston wear - although higher for the high-speed plate engine tracks - is no more than expected. But if we are honest, that was only of passing interest. With many events...

Oil coolers - the Laminova

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Engine oil is rather like that famous brand of lager that is said to refresh the parts other beers cannot reach, for in cooling the piston undercrown, valvetrain and bearings it is clearly performing a function in those areas inaccessible to the engine coolant. As in the case of the engine cooling system, this heat eventually has to be distributed into the passing air surrounding the vehicle. For many years, and where natural flow of air around the sump was insufficient, the most common...