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Aluminium-silicon alloys

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Although cast iron has enjoyed something of a resurgence since the advent of compacted graphite iron (CGI) in passenger cars, in racing it is an anachronism, a throw-back to much earlier times. It is usually used for large structural castings only where regulation mandates it. Otherwise, aluminium is the material of choice. Aluminium combines low mass and reasonable strength, and it finds use for pistons and all sorts of other components. The specific modulus or specific stiffness of...

Why hybrids?

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For a number of years, there have been hybrid roadcars available. Beloved of celebrities wanting to cultivate a tree-hugging image, they can't be said however to have captured the public's imagination. Technology pundits had predicted a long transition from a production passenger car market dominated by internal combustion engines to one dominated by electric vehicles, via increasingly 'hybridised' vehicles. In fact, without hybrids ever having become very popular, the number...

Aluminium and tin

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Despite many years of bearing development there are still those who argue that there is no better material than babbits. For corrosion resistance, embeddability, conformability and their ability to support thick hydrodynamic oil films for instance, babbits have no peers. However, for mechanical strength and consequently fatigue properties, particularly at elevated temperatures, their life is low. And so for many years the tri-metal copper-lead substrate applied to a steel backing shell...

That other camshaft

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It is perhaps easy to forget that while in most gasoline engines the function of the camshaft is solely to open and close the intake and exhaust valves, in others - particularly the more modern direct injection designs - cams are part of the fuel system. Diesel engines, of course, have always injected the fuel directly into the cylinder, and the most convenient way to do that (converting the rotary motion of the crankshaft into one of a reciprocating nature of a high-pressure pump) is to...

Thermal/plasma-sprayed ceramics

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The main use for ceramic coatings for racing powertrains is on exhaust system components and various heat shields. The very low thermal conductivity of many metal oxides makes them ideal candidates where we would like a coating to reduce heat transfer. This might be desirable in order to improve the transient response of a turbocharger by keeping the temperature of the exhaust gas as high as possible, to protect other components that are sensitive to temperature or to reduce heat transfer...