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Bolt Hole Details

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Many of us will be aware that the con rod bolt is very often the most highly stressed fastener in any race engine. Not only is it highly stressed but if a rod bolt fails then the consequences can be catastrophic for the whole engine. I have seen engines where there has been a rod bolt failure, and very little of any real value could be used again. Thankfully though, by using careful tightening procedures and the correct bolt for the application, rod bolt failures are relatively rare. The...

The role of FEA

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The modern race engine is something of a technical marvel, not simply in terms of power output but also reliability. In terms of the basic concepts and the components involved, however, there is very little that the race engine designers of the 1920s and ‘30s would not be familiar with. While theirs was very much an era of trial and error in terms of the design of complex components, the modern engineer has at his fingertips an array of tools that can help optimise any number of race...

Material choices for Formula One

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Formula One is often said to be the pinnacle of motorsport, which is true in many ways, as the cars are the most optimised and highly developed. So utterly unrelenting is development that nobody who aims to compete at the highest level would dream of using the championship-winning car from the previous year. However, the engines have ‘suffered’ from a development freeze: after the 2006 season they were gradually neutered by having a reduced rev limit and a requirement to be more...

Could steel rods be the optimal solution?

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There have been a number of RET-Monitor articles on con rod materials over the past few years. The last article to cover steel as a con rod material, in late 2009, discussed the general benefits compared to other materials. In general terms, people have tended to consider steel as the safe option and titanium as the material for the optimum rod if the budget allows. If we decided to look beyond traditional steels for rod manufacture and towards some of the more exotic steels available,...

Inverted bolts

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While the ‘solid’ con rod – that is, one with no joint at the big end – is very attractive from an engineering point of view, it relies on the use of an assembled crankshaft, as in a crankshaft that is a multi-piece assembly. For this reason, their use is generally limited to engines with small numbers of cylinders, and they are especially common in single-cylinder engines. However, most engines are fitted with con rods that have a bolted joint at the big end. This...