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Flow benches and cylinder head performance

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For many years, flow benches have been an integral part of the engine builder’s tuning arsenal, allowing quantifiable data about port flow rates to be obtained. Although the principles of operation have not changed drastically over the years, the latest generation of flow benches and associated ancillaries are capable of providing greater levels of insight into cylinder head performance than ever before. One area that has long been of interest to cylinder head tuners is the analysis of...

Ultrasonic testing

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Of all the industrial applications for ultrasonic testing, material flaw detection is the oldest and the most common. Since the 1940s, the laws of physics that govern the propagation of sound waves through solid materials have been used to detect hidden cracks, voids, porosity and other internal discontinuities in metals, composites, plastics and ceramics. In ultrasonic testing, high-frequency sound waves are reflected from flaws in predictable ways, producing distinctive echo patterns...

Measuring combustion conditions in a Formula One engine

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Being able to accurately analyse combustion pressures and other combustion chamber conditions is very useful in gaining a thorough understanding of a race engine. To achieve this, various dedicated sensors are needed. Some of the most informative are those used for measuring in-cylinder combustion pressures; however, combustion pressure does not often tell the whole story so, if resources allow, further investigation into the combustion process can be beneficial. For example, during the...

CAN data systems

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A considerable amount of data can be obtained from factory-fitted engine sensors in a modern roadcar-based racer, and mining the data has become far easier in recent years thanks to the widespread adoption by mainstream manufacturers of CAN (Controller Area Network) bus wiring systems. There is a range of ways of interacting with and connecting to these sensors, but first it is worth looking at what exactly a CAN system is. In simple terms, a CAN bus is a network of individual electronic...

Computing power and engine simulation

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In a previous RET-Monitor, we looked at engine simulation software, specifically open source CFD packages. However, while having the ability to simulate what is going on in an engine is one thing, having access to the correct hardware to undertake such simulations is another. The level to which you can simulate complex flows such as those found in an engine’s inlet and combustion chamber depends to a great degree on the computing power available. For those wishing to undertake such...