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Dynos: Torque Sensors

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One of the key parts of a modern engine dynamometer is the torque sensor. But how do these sensors work and what recent developments have there been in sensing technology? The vast majority of conventional systems for measuring torque operate by measuring the torsional deflection induced by the applied torque, by one of two methods: measurement of twist angle and measurement of surface strain changes. The twist angle method of torque measurement generally requires a portion of the...

Dynamometers: accuracy and repeatability

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When performing any measurement, whether it be gauging the clearance on a component or performing a power run on a dyno, you want to have accuracy and repeatability. But what do these terms actually mean? People often get the two confused, and replace one with the other, but from a testing standpoint the differences in their meaning and impact on test results is considerable. The dictionary definition of accuracy is: "The degree to which the result of a measurement, calculation, or...

Composite material testing: tensile, compression and crush.

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Testing materials and components to ascertain their mechanical properties is vital in vehicle development, especially when it comes to composite components. After all, it is very difficult to build a part to withstand a set loading, and keep it as light as possible, if you do not know the precise properties of the materials being used. These days, FEA simulation removes the need for a large amount of physical testing, but simulation packages still need data, and some people cannot afford...

Active dyno test cells

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Advanced active engine dynamometers are invariably housed in test cells, where the test environment can be closely controlled. This month I want to look at the design and engineering requirements of these cells, specifically the installation and types of ancillary systems including, but not limited to, coolant and environmental systems. Engine testing is essentially a scientific experiment and, as such, as many factors as possible need to be tightly controlled to ensure reliable and...


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Test systems are only as good as the instrumentation used to measure and record data; without the ability to undertake accurate measurements, reliable testing cannot be conducted. However, as test beds increase in complexity, so does the volume of data generated by their sensors, making rapid interpretation of results difficult without efficient data management and analysis systems. Generally speaking, most dynamometer manufacturers will supply sensors and a data management interface with...