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The use of Spirolox clips for piston pin retention

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In most cases, piston pins are retained with some form of clip. There are occasions when people have preferred to use plastic buttons that can contact the cylinder bore, but these are really a niche product. Buttons were covered in a previous article. From motorcycles to freight trucks, for road transport and racing, circlips of one form or another reign supreme, at least in terms of numbers used. In many instances, piston pins are kept in their intended position with round-wire clips of...

Acid pickling and etching

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The use of strong acids is commonplace in industry in the manufacture of many components, and they have a number of purposes that might be useful in the context of race engines and transmissions. Although not widely used for this purpose, there are applications where precision pickling produces tight-tolerance final dimensions on components, owing partly to the simultaneous effects of improvement of surface finish (roughness reduction) and removal of burrs from production that would...

Ultrasonic testing

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Of all the industrial applications for ultrasonic testing, material flaw detection is the oldest and the most common. Since the 1940s, the laws of physics that govern the propagation of sound waves through solid materials have been used to detect hidden cracks, voids, porosity and other internal discontinuities in metals, composites, plastics and ceramics. In ultrasonic testing, high-frequency sound waves are reflected from flaws in predictable ways, producing distinctive echo patterns...

Gear materials

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The materials selected for use in transmission systems, particularly the gears, play an important role in the reliability and efficiency of racing transmissions. In this month’s article we will take an initial look at those materials. Materials for gears in general can be divided in two categories: metallic and non-metallic. Unsurprisingly, gears in racing transmissions fall into the first group. Although there is ongoing research into the potential uses of composite materials for...

Powder-metal valve seats

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Modern race engines place very harsh demands on valve seats for a number of reasons, all of which are concerned with extracting the absolute maximum from the engine. In comparison to a passenger car engine, as an example, racing seats are expected to deal with a greater amount of heat transfer per unit volume, higher temperatures, greater stresses on valve seating and higher seating velocities. We expect to run thin seat areas in order to improve gas flow characteristics at a given valve...