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Many of us will be familiar with nitriding as a method of providing a hard wear-resistant surface on some engine components. An additional benefit is that the surface is put into a state of residual compressive stress by treatment. The benefit of doing so are that the fatigue life of the component is extended, even where there is no use made of the wear-resistant nature of the surface. One point against nitriding though, in all of its forms, is the amount of time taken to carry out the...

Keronite coatings

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In a recent RET-Monitor article on the subject of surface treatments for magnesium, mention was made of plasma electrolytic oxidation treatments. One such treatment that has found application in motorsport is Keronite, and while it is popularly used for surface treatment of magnesium components, the process can also be used with the other popular light alloy materials, namely aluminium and titanium. I discussed the process with Dr James Curran, principal materials engineer at Keronite....

Surface treatments for magnesium

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In a previous article, I discussed some of the merits of using magnesium alloys in race engines. This isn't an original train of thought; the use of magnesium was widespread in different forms of motor racing more than 50 years ago, and the car and motorcycle manufacturers embrace it willingly in an effort to reduce engine and vehicle mass. Indeed, it has been common to use magnesium covers - cam covers, for example - on production motorcycles for decades now. With a density of...

Ion implantation

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It cannot be lost on anyone reading the articles I have written that an understanding or at least appreciation of residual stresses in engine parts can lead to improved component life or to the development of lighter parts. The book by Almen and Black, "Residual Stress and Fatigue in Metals", is worth reading, if you can get hold of a copy. There are a number of ways to impart beneficial residual stresses, and many of these have been discussed in the pages of Race Engine Technology...

The WPC process

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For those of you with a high boredom threshold, a constantly recurring theme in my articles for RET-Monitor and Race Engine Technology is to stress the importance of compressive residual stresses at the surface of components which are cyclically stressed. The compressive stress is extremely effective in improving the fatigue strength of engine components, and there are a number of ways of achieving this; some of these have been discussed before in RET-Monitor. There are various surface...