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Combustion analysis

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In high-performance race engines, understanding the processes taking place during each combustion cycle is of great importance to development, be it with the intention of gaining more power, reliability or efficiency. Being able to measure and then analyse the combustion process effectively is a vital tool in allowing engineers to optimise an engine's design. It is often thought that this sort of analysis is the preserve of manufacturers building clean-sheet engine designs, but the...

Water brake dynos

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Water brake dynamometers are some of the most popular devices for engine bench testing, thanks to their relative simplicity and low cost. They are also ideally suited to the testing of high-output engines, thanks to the scalability of their design. Water brakes use water flow proportional to the applied load to create resistance to the test engine's output. A controlled flow of water through the inlet manifold is directed at the centre of the rotor in each absorption section; the water...

The chassis dyno

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Chassis dynamometers are one of the most common methods for assessing the power output of race engines, thanks to the ease with which testing can be conducted. However, because the entire vehicle package is under test there are a large number of factors that can affect the accuracy and repeatability of the testing process. To recap, there are two main types of chassis dynamometers (dynos) in widespread use these days - inertia and eddy current. Previous issues of RET-Monitor have covered...

Transmission dynos

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In previous issues of RET-Monitor we have looked at the wide variety of dynamometers designed to measure engine power output or gauge the parasitic losses of particular components. However, engines are not the only area of a racecar that can benefit from dynamometer testing. In the upper levels of motorsport, every tiny performance gain counts, and the transmission and final drive is an area where considerable gains can be made. Enter the transmission dyno, the most direct method of...

Non-running dynos and laser valve tracking

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In previous issues of RET-Monitor under this keyword, the focus has been on dynamometer systems designed for measuring running engines. This month the focus will be on systems that do not operate on a running engine, and specifically their use for monitoring movement in reciprocating components using laser measurement systems. The use of lasers to measure the movement of the valvetrain and other components is fairly well documented, however a brief summary is beneficial. In essence, a...