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In a previous article on the subject of surface treatments, RET Monitor contributor Tom Sharp discussed various surface hardening methods for crankshafts, and the method of nitriding was expanded upon in a subsequent article on the subject of nitride hardening. Not only does nitriding of steels offer a more wear-resistant surface, but there are substantial benefits from the introduction of compressive residual stresses with regard to fatigue behaviour. Literature is littered with accounts...

Laser Peening

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The use of amplified light has a great many applications in industry and beyond. Many of us reading this will do so having had our sight improved by laser eye treatment. In terms of the use of lasers in engineering, perhaps the most widespread application is laser-cutting, allowing sheet metal to be cut into any shape from a simple dxf drawing file. Many engineering works specialising in sheet metal will offer laser cutting nowadays. In a similar way, lasers are often used for part-marking...

Which hardening method is best?

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Last month we looked into induction hardening of crankshafts and the inherent differences between that process and nitriding. We saw that induction hardening carries significant potential benefits; the main one being that the crankshaft is only heated locally which means that distortion can be effectively managed. There is also no maximum limit on case depth with induction hardening, which is potentially a benefit in terms of strength but also a potential risk. Any experienced crankshaft...

Which Surface Treatment Is Best?

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Race engine crankshafts are typically produced from steel billets and are gas nitrided to improve fatigue life and reduce wear. However nitriding is not suitable for all crankshafts, as the author found recently whilst detailing a crankshaft from a 70-year old historic Grand Prix racing engine. The crankshaft in question ran with rolling element main and crankpin bearings, in which the actual rollers ran directly on the journal surfaces of the crankshaft. Under these circumstances...

Smooth surface treatments

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Leading crankshaft manufacturer, Arrow Precision Ltd, of Hinckley, Leicestershire, have recently expanded their capabilities by installing a rigid polishing machine for use on main and crankpin journals. Optimising journal surface finish and cylindricity is key to minimising wear and improving fatigue life. The rigid polishing system works via a precision manufactured shoe, or housing, which contacts the entire bearing journal surface to be polished. Abrasive tape is then fed into the...