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Active dynos - 2

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My previous RET-Monitor article on this subject gave a general overview of active dynamometers, and the benefits they can bring to engine development. This month, I want to look at some of the other tasks they can be used for, over and above basic transient testing. The advantage of an electric active dyno is clearly its ability to motor, allowing it to drive the engine and simulate conditions such as transmission drag, gearbox downshifts and so on. However, this capability can also be...

Active dynos

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In the past, most engine development work would take place on passive dynamometers, which allowed only for steady-state power runs to ascertain basic power and torque curves. The advent of computer-controlled 'active' dynos however has revolutionised the way engine development programmes are run, presenting engineers with a plethora of new tools to understand engine characteristics. A passive dyno usually consists of a power absorber - a water brake, hydraulic brake or eddy current...

Weighty matters

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In these financially straitened times, the fuel consumption of engines has taken on a new level of importance - not, I hasten to add, to minimise the production of carbon dioxide and its environmental impact on the world but, within motorsport, the simple realisation that every unnecessary litre of fuel weighing 0.75 kg, is 0.75 kg too much. Irrespective of the current financial climate therefore, minimising fuel usage seems to make so much more sense. That being the case, in any engine...

The eddy-current dyno

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Although the water or hydraulic brake is probably the most cost effective form of dynamometer, by far the most familiar - at least for those in a professional engine development environment - will be the eddy-current brake. It's a bit of a hybrid in a way, for although it's classed as an electrical machine, it still requires a method of dissipating the engine shaft energy absorbed in the form of heat. In low power ratings this can be cooling air, which greatly simplifies the...

The water brake

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The chassis dynamometer may be a convenient way of loading an engine, but to undertake any serious engine development requires a dynamometer attached directly to the output shaft of the engine. While there are various types of engine dynamometer on the market, perhaps the simplest and least costly is that of the water brake. Classed as a hydraulic machine, while some types of hydraulic dynamometer may use a pump to circulate oil, the water brake relies totally on a different fluid - water....