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Chromed rockers

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I can hardly believe it - it's now almost 50 years since hard rock first came to our ears. That genre of music produced by (often distorted) electric guitars, bass and drums, sometimes accompanied by piano or keyboard, made its mark on the 1960s - much like, in a different sphere of endeavour, the invention of nickel silicon carbide began to influence cylinder bore coatings. Until that time, cast-iron cylinder liner technology in race engines was pretty ubiquitous. But whereas cast iron...

All screwed up

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As an engineer you must always be looking to improve the product, whether it be to improve its performance, increase reliability or simply make it easier and hopefully cheaper to manufacture. The general term for all this activity is development, and although now a dirty word in any engineering organisation - since it implies that the design wasn't correct in the first place - the sealing of the combustion gases at the split line between the cylinder liner and fire face has always been...

Cool bubble

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In this article I want to emphasise the non-material side of the cylinder head, focussing on cooling. Whereas in previous articles I have provided some insight into cylinder head structure and coolant flow, this time I will look at cooling mechanisms in the cylinder head. The unceasing demand for higher specific power has enforced higher operating temperatures on engine parts, in particular cylinder heads, which has a significant effect on thermo-mechanical loading and consequently on...

Thermal spraying of liners

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The inexorable push towards ever-lighter engines with even greater levels of durability is more pressing now than ever. Challenging targets for CO2 emissions (read fuel economy) in the road vehicle business, together with pressure on production costs in the motorsport sector are forcing engine manufacturers to look at parent metal bore technology in aluminium cylinder blocks like never before. Low-silicon (around 7-8%) aluminium alloys, the type favoured for casting, have poor tribological...

The rear crankshaft oil seal

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Historically, the rear main bearing oil seal has always been a challenge for the engine designer. Ask any modern competitor of a classic or vintage racecar when apart from getting the engine started in the first place, the second most important quest is to keep the oil where it belongs - in the sump and not on the garage floor! Hidden out of sight somewhere between the rearmost main bearing on the crankshaft and the engine flywheel, the zone is rarely awash with oil but neither is it...