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Formula One crankshafts after 2014

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The provisional rules for the 2014 Formula One World Championship engines are now available to view on the FIA website. The change from the current 18,000 rpm 2.4 litre V8s to the 2014 1.6 litre V6 turbocharged engines was not straightforward, and came after a considerable period during which the engine suppliers were working towards supplying four-cylinder engines for 2013. There are some important changes and restrictions affecting the design of crankshafts for 2014, which go beyond the...

Is nitriding the only option?

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The crankshaft lies at the heart of the fundamental mechanical system in the vast majority of race engines. Only rotary race engines don't have what we might call a crankshaft, although other mechanisms exist and which have been tested to turn reciprocating motion into rotary motion. Conventional wisdom has it that our steel race crankshafts are nitrided, almost without exception. An earlier article by Tom Sharp (1), posted in 2009, pointed to the fact that induction hardening is used...

Modern crankshaft machining methods

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The manufacture of crankshafts is not a straightforward matter; many pitfalls await the adventurous novice attempting to make his own crankshaft, and there are reasons why there are so few reputable race crankshaft manufacturers. The general trend for trying to reduce engine friction means that modern design practice is often in the direction of reducing bearing diameters. This means greater care needs to be taken in manufacture, especially heat treatment, if serious distortion is to be...

Why not titanium?

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There are some materials regulations in motor racing that don't make sense, because they stifle development and outlaw materials which just make good sense. The ban by many race series on the use of magnesium is one example of this, given that it has always been an affordable material and is common in series production. I imagine that many of those who write such rules drive around in cars with engines using magnesium. Materials are often consigned to this fate when they are judged to...

Sealing oil drillings

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One of the functions of a crankshaft, besides playing its fundamental part in an engine's basic mechanism, is to transfer oil, especially to the con rod big-end bearings. In some cases, where all main bearings are directly fed from the main oil gallery in the cylinder block, and where drillings can take oil directly from the main bearing to the crankpin, there is no requirement to seal any drillings. However, in a great many cases, there is a need to reliably seal oil drillings, and...