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Corrective action

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The definition of an engine is apparently "a machine that converts power into motion". This may be true in its widest sense but when it comes to rotary outputs, I like things to be more precise. Far be it from me to contradict the Oxford English Dictionary, but in its basest form surely an engine is "a machine that converts torque into motion"? I know I'm being slightly pedantic, but engines - at least the ones we are more familiar with - are designed to produce...

'Optimising' the gasoline engine?

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Perhaps the most common word used today in engineering is 'optimise.' Now, my memory may be a little bit selective, but until about 20 years ago the word was rarely used. But I have a theory. In the past, engineers were probably far too busy concentrating on getting things to work in the first place than working to their optimum, or perhaps it's because today's engineering 'tools' - and by that I mean software - are far more discriminating, allowing finer degrees of...

Emission Testing in Motorsport

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Amid all the hype over the past few years of Global Warming or as it has been re-branded now, Climate Change, it won't surprise anyone that motorsport has come in for its own fair share of criticism. Viewed by some as a waste of resources, the sport is now fighting back and where once the word 'power' was king, 'efficiency' now replaces it. But from a motorsport perspective, 'efficiency' can mean many different things but in the final analysis and in today's...


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The most common type of engine dynamometer today used by engine builders the world over, must be the eddy current machine. But few will ever forget, of those who ever used them, the DPX water brake. Made by Froude in Worcester, England since shortly after the turn of the (20th) century, and once to be found gracing some out-of-the-way engine test facility at University, to many this would be their introduction to the subtle art of engine testing. Classed as a fluid friction device,...

The chassis dyno

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Believe it or not measuring the precise output from a reciprocating engine has always been a controversial and sometimes, difficult task. Even in the confines of the engine test cell, day-to day repeatability can often be onerous not to say expensive and so it is easy to understand why many competitors may prefer to test their engine while it remains in the vehicle - on a chassis dynamometer. Engine dynamometers are generally the province of serious tuners and the OE engine business....