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There are many components in the internal combustion engine which are subject to sliding contact, and which have to transmit substantial forces through that sliding contact. Some contacts are conformal - that is, the contacting pieces have similar and mating geometry - and hence have low levels of contact stress. A crankshaft operating within its bearings is a good example of this. Other contacts will have no such conformal aspects, and these non-conformal contacts are subject to high...


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The application of cryogenic treatments to materials has been discussed previously in RET-Monitor. In that article, we went into the basics of the treatment, how it is used as part of the hardening and tempering process for certain special steels, and touched on how it can also be used for relieving stress in metallic components. We should not though expect to see benefits from throwing components into a bucket of something very cold. The details of the process are much more complex than...

Low-pressure carburising

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The case hardening process, also known as carburising is very old, and pre-dates controlled nitriding processes by some decades; I have seen drawings of racing crankshafts from the 1920s that were hardened by this method. Other race engine parts that are commonly carburised are camshafts, piston pins and gears. The case hardening of highly stressed gears has been the most popular surface hardening process for decades, not only for racing gears but for highly loaded gears in general. The...


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The use of phosphate conversion surface treatments, usually referred to as 'phosphating', are common in industrial applications, often serving as an underlayer for further coating processes such as painting. However, they have a number of applications in race engines and transmissions where they are not combined with further coating processes. In these applications they are applied in order to improve lubrication or for corrosion resistance. In terms of lubrication, phosphate...


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The use of aluminium in race engines is widespread; where it is allowed, it is generally used for structural castings and is also widely used for machined components. Pistons are also generally made from aluminium, and most race pistons are forged. Aluminium has a number of properties that make it an attractive material for use in race engines. For example, it has low density, and some alloys possess good specific strength (strength divided by density) and high thermal conductivity....