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Oil catch tanks and breathers

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All engines suffer from a degree of ‘blow-by’, where combustion gas escapes past the piston rings into the crank case. While the movement of pistons and other reciprocating components contributes to crank case pressure, the biggest single culprit is blow-by, and the resulting pressurisation needs to be vented from the engine. If this pressure isn’t relived, it can cause oil to be pushed past the various crank case seals, notably the main crank seal; it will also impact the...

Piston pins, surface treatments and coatings

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As discussed in previous RET-Monitor articles and in the pages of Race Engine Technology magazine, reducing the mass of a piston assembly is especially valuable because it then allows design engineers to reduce mass of all of the downstream components. The piston pin is a significant mass, and any reduction here allows weight to be removed from an optimised con rod and crankshaft. The temptation is to make piston pins smaller in every dimension – that is, outside diameter, inside...

Some processing details about carburising

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The carburising process has found very wide use in motorsport as well as the wider engineering industry. It provides a hard surface on a tough core, and puts the surface of the component into a state of residual compressive stress, which we know have a positive effect on component life. The number of applications for carburising is growing, owing to the adoption by many companies of low-pressure carburising (also referred to as vacuum carburising), and we covered this subject briefly in a...

CAN data systems

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A considerable amount of data can be obtained from factory-fitted engine sensors in a modern roadcar-based racer, and mining the data has become far easier in recent years thanks to the widespread adoption by mainstream manufacturers of CAN (Controller Area Network) bus wiring systems. There is a range of ways of interacting with and connecting to these sensors, but first it is worth looking at what exactly a CAN system is. In simple terms, a CAN bus is a network of individual electronic...

EV transmissions

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It is a popular myth that electric and hybrid vehicles, thanks to their use of electric motors capable of delivering maximum torque from zero rpm, do not need a transmission. But while it is perfectly feasible to run an electric motor (or motors) directly driven to the wheels, it is increasingly common to use a transmission, particularly among EV racers. Why is this? The answer is that, by using different ratios, the efficiency of a motor can be increased by ensuring that it is operating...