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Timing is everything

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It is perhaps not widely appreciated that the stand-up comic and a camshaft have much in common. Both rely on split second delivery: the punch line in the case of the former while the latter ensures that the engine valves are opened and closed to a predetermined plan. If the punch line is too early or too late an audience who might otherwise be rolling around in the isles could be on the point of getting up and walking out.A similar metaphorical disaster could be awaiting the engine....

Self-applied engine coatings

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Several firms now offer specialty engine coating systems for use by individual builders and engine shops for a variety of applications. Common usages include thermal barriers, dry film surface lubricants, and anticorrosion coatings. In some cases, coatings can serve two functions, such as thermal barrier finishes for exhaust systems that also act as rust preventatives when applied to a mild steel exhaust header.While these materials have been available for quite some time, reports of...

Small end design features

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The con rod has a number of important design features and many of these are associated with the design of the small end. The primary function of the con rod is, of course, to transmit the power of the reciprocating motion of the piston to the rotating crankshaft. In this article we shall consider some of the design features of the small end of a modern four-stroke racing con rod and the different solutions to the various problems which must be overcome. The small end must provide...

Tribology and Vibration

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The crankshaft is perhaps one of the most critical components in the modern Formula One engine; its design is full of compromises and its manufacture is complicated and time-consuming.The ongoing fight to reduce friction leads the designer to ever smaller bearings, but for each engine there is a point at which friction begins to increase again as crankshaft flexibility causes edge loading on bearings. There are a couple of options for bearings, namely the almost ubiquitous plain journal...

Engine electronics

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Although an activity that is supposed to ‘improve the breed,’ motorsport has usually lagged behind road cars on engine management technology. There was a time when factory electronic injection systems on production-based cars were junked in favour of carburettors during preparation for racing. Even now, most of the capabilities of modern systems including traction and stability control are expressly forbidden by most rulebooks.To be fair, motor manufacturers have never had any...