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The Wooler engine

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We motorsport engineers are a lucky bunch; I tell people that, as an engineer, there are few areas of the engineering industry that can approach the rewards of Formula One in terms of the scope for creativity and the willingness of companies to explore new ideas. For many years, when the regulations governing motor racing were more liberal than they are now, we saw some incredible innovations, and a fair share of them came from the motorcycle fraternity. The incredible Honda NR engines,...

Aerodynamics and the cooling system

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The number one requirement of any cooling system is that it should be effective. By that I mean keeping the engine operating at its optimum working temperature for best overall performance, aligned to acceptable durability. At one time this was considered all that was needed, but vehicle manufacturers soon realised that while the pump used to circulate the coolant through the system absorbed useful engine power, the aerodynamic drag associated with the vehicle radiator (positioned as it...

Eccentric shafts for rotary (Wankel) engines

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Wankel engines seem to provoke either indifference or passion in engineers. I fondly remember the times when the British motorcycle racing scene was excited by the presence of the works Nortons, the engines being based on the same units that carried the British police motorcyclists along the roads; to use the word ‘propel’ or ‘power’ seems wrong, because the police bikes were singularly unimpressive. However, the Norton race bikes were anything but. They were...


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I remember the first time I came across the term ‘multiplexing’. It was in the early 1980s when I was working at an engineering company, and we were looking to save weight in the door of a luxury vehicle. At the time, electrical or electronic components on vehicles were not as common as they are now, but those that were needed copious amounts of electrical wiring in order to operate them. This was heavy, expensive and unreliable. The object therefore was to replace all the wiring...

Obtaining greater elastic deformation in a multi-layer steel gasket by adding a stopper element

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There are some engines, mainly from the past, that have major components integrated into one part. There is of course the monobloc engine type, such as the De Dion-Bouton engine of 1905, which integrated cylinders and head into one machined casting, but in the modern world we find this type of highly integrated designs only in less powerful engines such as the Honda GC family, which combines the cylinder head, cylinder and half the crankcase, split at the crankshaft line. Other than these,...