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Many of us who have been involved in designing components for race engines will be familiar with the nitriding process, and even if the process isn't very familiar in its detail, we probably know what its benefits are. It is also likely that we will have only ever specified the treatment on steel components. Any steel containing strong nitride-forming elements such as aluminium and chromium will nitride well, and the process is used on everything from medium alloy steels, through...

Computing power and engine simulation

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In a previous RET-Monitor, we looked at engine simulation software, specifically open source CFD packages. However, while having the ability to simulate what is going on in an engine is one thing, having access to the correct hardware to undertake such simulations is another. The level to which you can simulate complex flows such as those found in an engine’s inlet and combustion chamber depends to a great degree on the computing power available. For those wishing to undertake such...

Transmission dynamometers

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Being able to measure transmission losses accurately is a very useful capability when it comes to optimising a racecar package, and is particularly important in series where regulations ensure that engine power outputs are closely matched. In such series, very small percentage power gains can have a considerable impact on competitiveness. This means that any reductions in parasitic losses due to improvements in transmission efficiency can be decisive in the hunt for victory. The usual...


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 Pushrod engines are ‘old hat’, an anachronism in these modern times, but while the rest of the world has moved on and adopted the overhead camshaft, the users of big V8 engines have remained loyal to the old tech. That is probably an opinion shared by many engineers who have never had any dealings with pushrod valvetrains. The fact is that there are countries – the US and Australia for example – where cheap gasoline makes daily motoring with a big engine...

Steel cylinder liners

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On first inspection, steel seems like an unlikely material to use for a cylinder liners. Its density is almost three times that of aluminium, its thermal expansion coefficient is much lower than that of the aluminium piston that runs inside it, and it has low thermal conductivity. However, many people use it for liners, and it can offer the lowest total engine mass, despite its density. The real advantages of steel are its strength and stiffness. Aluminium cylinder liners are very popular,...