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Italian solution

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Despite the promise that kinetic energy recovery has offered in Formula One, even several races into the new season very few teams are choosing to race it. And, of those that are, the favoured solution seems to be based on a motor/generator for energy transfer and batteries as a storage medium. Both Ferrari and Renault have taken this route while McLaren, which is being tight lipped on the matter, certainly has such a system and may well be using it. In the battle to optimize all the...

What are 'Sputtered' Bearings?

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In company with the small end bearing there’s no more hard working bearing surface than that found in the big end of high performance gasoline and diesel race engines. In a good example of a reverse technology flow - series production to racing - bearings originally developed to cope with extreme cylinder pressures found in the latest generation of high speed passenger car and commercial diesel engines have found their way into Formula One and sport car engines. In the mid 90’s,...

The Naming of Parts

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The heart of any internal combustion gasoline engine just simply has to be the camshaft and the valve mechanism it controls. Designed to maximise the amount of air entering the cylinder at a range of engine speeds, it is often perhaps the first port of call when seeking to improve engine performance. In theory, and in an ideal world, the inlet valve should open to its full lift precisely at piston top dead centre and then close again when the piston next comes to rest at bottom dead...

Micro perfection

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Finding a material that fulfils all of the performance demands especially in a race engine is an almost impossible task. The result has been the growth in the use of coatings, used either to protect the load bearing core or to reduce frictional losses or both. Perhaps the best known are the various carbon and graphite coatings (often called DLC for diamond like coating) where a super thin layer of as little as 5 microns is deposited onto a finished surface using some form of vapour...

Big End Design

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After the article last month which looked briefly at the small end of the con rod, we shall look this month at the opposite end of the con rod. Referred to as the ‘big end’ or ‘large end’ this end of the con rod houses the bearings which transfer the piston and con rod loads to the crankshaft. Again we shall concentrate on the type of con rod found in the four-stroke engine typical of Formula One and many other racing series. One of the main jobs that the big end has...