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Bearing the load

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“It is always a battle for our engine bearings,” says John Medlen, tuner for John Force Racing Funny Car driver Mike Neff in the NHRA’s Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. “Their survival is predicated on the cylinder pressure applied to the bearing and the manner in which we see a rise in that cylinder pressure. We have to look at the pressure curve,” he said. In all the nitromethane-burning NHRA classes, it’s “okay to have a high and long cylinder...

You’ve never had it so good!

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I think it was British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan who is claimed to have first coined the phase, “You’ve never had it so good.” In a speech at a Conservative party rally the phrase referred to the fact that after 15 years of shortages and rationing, the post war economy was now looking rosy again. But for anyone involved in cam design the phrase may be as true in 2009 for him/her, as it was back in 1957 for the people of Britain. Today, with powerful user-friendly...

DLC Coatings in Racing Engines

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There are a very wide range of coatings which are employed in motorsport engines nowadays, and Formula One has been at the forefront of this development for many years. The moot point of excessive budgets is the reason that Formula One has been able in many cases to be a guinea-pig for these exciting technologies and, owing to this development coatings such as DLC are now finding widespread use on series production cars. The aim in these production car applications is to decrease friction...

Material Choices

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There are several types of materials which are currently used for con rods – some for reasons of manufacturing, some for reasons of quality, but most have been specifically chosen owing to their particular combination of mechanical properties. This month we shall begin to look at con rod materials and, in those cases where they are chosen for reasons of properties alone, what makes each suitable for the particular application. In terms of circuit racing, the main types of materials...

Heat-treatment of crankshafts

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In the previous article, we looked at the first stages of heat-treatment in the manufacture of crankshafts. Certainly in Formula One, the most popular heat treatment that will be mentioned will be nitriding. Nitriding, as most of you will know, is a surface treatment which, if specified correctly, should have no effect on the bulk of the material, often referred to as the core. When we specify the material for the crankshaft, we need to be careful not only to specify the composition of the...