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Does it always work?

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This month I have chosen not to write about ‘real’ content on the topic of gaskets and seals, but to focus more on the ‘how do we know it is right’ side of things. When I read about developments of some kind in gaskets or seals, I sometimes also wonder if the developments really work and if they will keep working in all kinds of circumstances. And ‘circumstances’ can be read here in the broadest sense – do they function under all kinds of ambient...

Contact zone

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It is often said that history repeats itself, to show that we have done it all before. Almost all (new) developments are not really new but mostly improvements of already known concepts. In the business of engine design this seems equally true. Almost all engine concepts have been tried before, some with success, others less so. We humans are a very conservative species, especially when it comes to engines. What we have been doing on internal combustion engines for the past 100-plus years...

Longer than you think?

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For race vehicles, in whichever motorsport they are used, the typical attributes are that they must be powerful, light and driveable. According to the engine used, ‘light’ can be linked to the overall mass of the engine, which depends largely on configuration and engine length – shorter usually equals lighter, of course, and by how much depends on the type of engine. Therefore, during the concept design phase of the engine a lot of energy and focus is directed at keeping it...

Alternative block?

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In the history of race engine engineering, many methods have been thought of, tried and used on a wider scale to manufacture engine blocks. We all know the most commonly used production techniques and processes, which are the creation of castings with additional machining and the fully machined from solid blocks. The latter is mainly used for drag racing engines and to a degree extend into road racing engines. Apart from these two processes, you might have heard of the plastic engine, and...

The carbon-face seal

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In engine design sometimes parts cannot be made out of a single piece, which unfortunately means that seals and gaskets are necessary to keep the several fluids and air inside the engine, and keep dust, debris and water on the outside. I say ‘unfortunately’ because every gasket or seal is a weak spot in the engine. Seals are always made from a material with lower mechanical properties then the base block or head material, and the two mating surfaces always carry some risk of...