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The aftercooler

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It is an inescapable fact that pressure charging the intake air of an internal combustion engine invariably increases the temperature of that charge. The degree to which the temperature increases is essentially a function of the type of compression that takes place (adiabatic, isothermal) and therefore the efficiency of the compressor. The turbocharger, with its centrifugal compressor, accelerates the charge very quickly and then diffuses it slightly slower to convert the velocity energy...

The end of the hose?

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Next to the failure of vehicle electrics, leaks associated with the plumbing of the oil circuit were at one time the largest reason for a DNF (did not finish) on the motor racing scene. I well remember a time when vehicle under-bonnets were regularly streaked with oil and dirt, and much time was spent in the paddock between practice and the race, and again in the workshop at home, cleaning up afterwards. These days though there are no excuses for oil leaks. There is an entire system of...

The fan club

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Most engineers these days might consider a vehicle fan as that placed either in front or behind the radiator, pushing or pulling air through it and therefore cooling a heat transfer fluid and indirectly cooling the engine. While this may be ubiquitous now, 50 years or so ago the situation was different, when air-cooled engines devoid of any engine coolant were always a possible option. Of course though, the heat transfer characteristics of air are not as efficient as those of the primary...

The water pump

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It is a sad indictment of the spark-ignition engine that, even in its most efficient form, for every horsepower or kilowatt generated, the thermal equivalent of at least two more are lost as heat. And although up to half of this can be conveniently discharged directly into the atmosphere in the form of exhaust gas, the remaining heat – the amount roughly equivalent to the power output of the engine itself– has to be disposed of in other, less convenient ways. As my old...


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The design of the vehicle cooling system on a racecar is a comparatively simple task, provided a number of basic facts are truly understood. So after the positioning of all the other major components in the vehicle, the engine, the gearbox – and of course the driver – somewhere in the remaining space will eventually dictate the position of the radiator, and for practical reasons (like the need to supply copious quantities of cool air) this is normally placed adjacent to the...