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The design of con rod fasteners, part 1

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For many companies supplying a race engine, the choice of con rod can be a very straightforward affair. Often there are multiple suppliers of uprated engine internals, and there are a number of very competent and successful con rod manufacturers. The engineer has only to be satisfied of the advantages of choosing a rod from a certain manufacturer, who will have chosen to use some very specialised bolts (or studs and nuts) to hold together the two pieces of the rod (assuming a split rod...

Testing radiators for heat dissipation

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There are a number of ways to evaluate the heat dissipation performance of a radiator. Some might prefer a computational approach using one of the many CFD codes available to model heat fluxes and fluid flows. However, since the geometry of a radiator is complex, requiring large amounts of computing power and detailed knowledge of how to use the software, this might be the least preferred approach, except by the CFD specialist with a suitable budget and the desire to get down into the...

Crankshaft balance factors

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If you look at an old crankshaft from a large engine, such as a steam engine that might be found on a ship, you may notice that it has no counterweighting. The engine speeds that were common at that time were so slow that it seems wrong to use the word ‘speed’ at all. However, with low engine speeds, it was not necessary to provide any balance weighting to counter the rotating mass of the crankpin and the part of the con rod mass that can be considered to rotate along with the...

Vehicle launch control systems

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One of the greatest challenges to a racing driver is that of the standing start away from the grid. At a time when places can be won or lost in a fraction of a second, the ability to match the engine torque to the maximum tractive effort between tyre and track is a great skill. Made even more difficult by the ‘peaky’ nature of the engine’s power delivery, the trick of balancing the clutch position against the throttle opening for best getaway is difficult enough to achieve...

Improved interface between crankcase and block by using CAE

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It has been a number of years now since many of the trial-and-error methods in engine development have been abandoned. Most of the higher class amateur racing teams and, without exception, all of the professional teams make maximum use of the available computer-aided possibilities that modern times offer. This includes not just CAD systems but also CAE applications such as finite element analysis (FEA) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD). What is not yet so widespread though is the...