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Eccentric shafts for rotary (Wankel) engines

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Wankel engines seem to provoke either indifference or passion in engineers. I fondly remember the times when the British motorcycle racing scene was excited by the presence of the works Nortons, the engines being based on the same units that carried the British police motorcyclists along the roads; to use the word ‘propel’ or ‘power’ seems wrong, because the police bikes were singularly unimpressive. However, the Norton race bikes were anything but. They were...


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I remember the first time I came across the term ‘multiplexing’. It was in the early 1980s when I was working at an engineering company, and we were looking to save weight in the door of a luxury vehicle. At the time, electrical or electronic components on vehicles were not as common as they are now, but those that were needed copious amounts of electrical wiring in order to operate them. This was heavy, expensive and unreliable. The object therefore was to replace all the wiring...

Obtaining greater elastic deformation in a multi-layer steel gasket by adding a stopper element

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There are some engines, mainly from the past, that have major components integrated into one part. There is of course the monobloc engine type, such as the De Dion-Bouton engine of 1905, which integrated cylinders and head into one machined casting, but in the modern world we find this type of highly integrated designs only in less powerful engines such as the Honda GC family, which combines the cylinder head, cylinder and half the crankcase, split at the crankshaft line. Other than these,...

The differing demands of touring car exhausts

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While single-seater racing hogs most of the limelight in Europe, at least as far as TV time is concerned, there are some very popular national racing series based on touring cars that are a real hit with fans of live motorsport. The World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) is starting to attain the same level of popularity, and deservedly so – the quality of the entries in terms of the machinery and drivers is very high. Many of the national championships and the World Touring Car series...

Prevention of fastener loosening, part 2

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In last month’s article on this subject, the main topic of discussion was chemical threadlocking methods, but there is a little more to be said on this before looking at mechanical methods. The anaerobic liquid threadlocking compounds, while being easy to use, have their own problems. As suggested in the previous article, they have an inconsistent effect on the torque-angle relationship, so while we might be reassured that the bolt won’t unwind, we can’t be entirely sure...