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Bearing bore tag slots

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In motorsport, the four-stroke engine is dominant in terms of numbers, and the vast majority of them use what we would describe as conventional shell bearings for both crankshaft main bearings and big ends. The most common method used to ensure proper location of these bearings and to prevent rotation is a combination of proper preload and tags (or tangs) which locate in precisely machined slots in the con rod big-end bore. This method is also that used by most production engines. There...

Formula One crankshafts after 2014

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The provisional rules for the 2014 Formula One World Championship engines are now available to view on the FIA website. The change from the current 18,000 rpm 2.4 litre V8s to the 2014 1.6 litre V6 turbocharged engines was not straightforward, and came after a considerable period during which the engine suppliers were working towards supplying four-cylinder engines for 2013. There are some important changes and restrictions affecting the design of crankshafts for 2014, which go beyond the...

Solder or crimp?

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Life is full of decisions, such as shall I wear the yellow or white shirt today, never thinking, of course, I have only one tie - pink! Or the classic one of betting all your money on red in a game of roulette, and the little ball ends up on the black. Sometimes, however, these decisions are taken away and life can be so much simpler. But deprived of choice, as an engineer I begin to wonder if there is a better way or if the accepted practice was just a convenience brought on by expediency...

Residual stress?

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For 'normal people' stress is something to be avoided; not so however for engine developers. It is something we have learned to live with, and even use to our advantage. So, what about residual stress then? Every mechanical engineer has learned during his or her education that one can only load a structure so much, until the maximum permissible stress is reached. This implies that an external load of some kind is being applied to that structure. In the meantime we have all kinds of...

The gap in between

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If you were to look inside the brain of any true engineer, you will find the phrase: "Make it smaller, cheaper and better". Smaller invariably means lighter, cheaper satisfies the bean-counters among us while better is the goal we often set ourselves, the one that plays to our ego and sense of pride, and the one we tend to judge ourselves by. So while designers are always producing engines to the smallest size, at some point someone in the future will always want to extract even...