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The Roots-type scavenge pump

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I suppose it's the mechanical engineer in me but ever since I can remember I have always been fascinated by complex curves. It may have been the Spirograph I received as a child, rolling one circle around another to produced a series of intriguing spirals. Or it could have been the Lissajous figures describing complex harmonic motion later on at university. Either way, the complex geometries produced in such a simple way left a major impression. The geometry of the gerotor oil pump is...

Historic piston use in the midget engine

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Dan Esslinger, President of Esslinger Engineering has been building Midget engines since 1990 - "So I guess we're 20-ish years into this thing," he says. In that time, Esslinger Engineering has gone through perhaps 30 iterations of pistons, "That's been due to bore size change, different strokes, different rod lengths, valve locations, things of that ilk," he says. "If you change one, it all changes. "Typically we use JE three-ring pistons because they...

The ductile iron ring

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Lest you think Fig. 1 here is the remnant of some form of horrific engine blow-up, let me explain that what you are looking at is a ductile iron piston ring. Twisted and bent to all manner of shapes the resulting contortion demonstrates vividly how flexible the material can be. Ductile iron comes from a class of materials referred to as SG (spheroidal graphite) irons. Similar in composition to the grey cast-irons used in older type piston ring technology, the carbon flakes in grey...

The WPC process

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For those of you with a high boredom threshold, a constantly recurring theme in my articles for RET-Monitor and Race Engine Technology is to stress the importance of compressive residual stresses at the surface of components which are cyclically stressed. The compressive stress is extremely effective in improving the fatigue strength of engine components, and there are a number of ways of achieving this; some of these have been discussed before in RET-Monitor. There are various surface...

Formula One CVT (Part 2)

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In the previous article, we looked at the prototype Formula One constantly variable transmission (CVT) system that Williams developed in conjunction with Van Doorn in the early 1990s, and spoke to engineer Arnaud Boulanger who was involved with the project. Anyone who follows Formula One closely will remember the dominant position that Williams had at that time. The CVT's development happened during a golden era for Williams; having the best car, they attracted the best drivers and for...