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Honing pistons to perfection

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When General Motors got out of the National Hot Rod Association's (NHRA) Pro Stock division a couple of years ago, it left behind a multitude of competitors using two of its engines in competition. The DRCE3 engine, newer than the DRCE2, has been the mainstay block-and-cylinder head combination for Warren Johnson Enterprises for the past five years. Johnson himself, who with his son Kurt builds engines for their two-car operation, is known as 'The Professor' for his meticulous...

Over a barrel

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The increase in demand for specialist designer beers has led to a steady business in the supply of stainless steel barrels - or so we are told. Forsaking the traditional wooden barrel, which in the spirits and wines business is often known to add a characteristic flavour to its contents, these containers are very much utilitarian devices for transporting the contents from the brewer to the consumer with the minimum effort. But unless you have tried to manoeuvre one of these 50 litre (11...

Ion implantation

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It cannot be lost on anyone reading the articles I have written that an understanding or at least appreciation of residual stresses in engine parts can lead to improved component life or to the development of lighter parts. The book by Almen and Black, "Residual Stress and Fatigue in Metals", is worth reading, if you can get hold of a copy. There are a number of ways to impart beneficial residual stresses, and many of these have been discussed in the pages of Race Engine Technology...

The flywheel effect

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Now that kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) are back on the agenda in Formula One and Le Mans prototypes, it's a reminder that a flywheel is not only a convenient place to attach the clutch, it can also be used to store energy. As well as electric motor/generator systems, several other KERS units have incorporated flywheels running in a vacuum. When the car slows down, the energy otherwise wasted as heat during braking is stored in the flywheel and released back into the driveline...

Motorcycle-engined cars

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While most press coverage of motorsport tends to look at big-budget motor racing, there are interesting technical features on many of the lower-budget machines that pound around the circuits during the summer weekends. There are a number of race series where lightweight cars powered by motorcycle engines are popular and successful. In the UK, Radical in particular has made a very successful business out of building bike-engined sportscars, and its V8 car has an engine based on two...