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Applications and design considerations of anodising

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Although anodising can be applied to a few other metals, the vast majority of applications in motorsport will be on aluminium. This is a reflection of the popularity of aluminium in the construction of race engines and transmissions, and the fact that anodising is not a process that is commonly applied to other materials such as titanium. There are several benefits to anodising, but we should make an early distinction between hard anodising, which applies a relatively thick oxide surface...

Acid pickling and etching

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The use of strong acids is commonplace in industry in the manufacture of many components, and they have a number of purposes that might be useful in the context of race engines and transmissions. Although not widely used for this purpose, there are applications where precision pickling produces tight-tolerance final dimensions on components, owing partly to the simultaneous effects of improvement of surface finish (roughness reduction) and removal of burrs from production that would...

Vibratory finishing applications and parameters

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This time last year I wrote an article talking about the basics of vibratory finishing but did not mention many applications, and without writing about the specific instances where we might want to use low- or high-energy processes. In this article therefore I shall go into more detail and look at some cases where we ought to be careful to specify to the supplier exactly what we need. There is a multitude of applications for vibratory finishing in engines and transmissions, and the main...

Some processing details about carburising

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The carburising process has found very wide use in motorsport as well as the wider engineering industry. It provides a hard surface on a tough core, and puts the surface of the component into a state of residual compressive stress, which we know have a positive effect on component life. The number of applications for carburising is growing, owing to the adoption by many companies of low-pressure carburising (also referred to as vacuum carburising), and we covered this subject briefly in a...


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Many of us who have been involved in designing components for race engines will be familiar with the nitriding process, and even if the process isn't very familiar in its detail, we probably know what its benefits are. It is also likely that we will have only ever specified the treatment on steel components. Any steel containing strong nitride-forming elements such as aluminium and chromium will nitride well, and the process is used on everything from medium alloy steels, through...