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Motors – the Le Mans regulations

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Formula One appears to be leading the way with some very daring regulations in 2014, with exhaust turbine-driven motor/generators giving a significant boost to the performance of cars whose ‘bare’ internal combustion engine is much less powerful than its predecessor. The ‘pain’ being suffered by some of the engine manufacturers is not necessarily due to the added complexity of the turbo motor/generators (known as an MGUH), but also by problems with their engines and...

Bearing distress

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I have read a report that says 55% of all bearing failures are attributable to the presence of dirt. Referred to more accurately in the report as “foreign body contamination” in this context, dirt is defined as being “any impurity, be that fine dust up to coarse casting sand or metallic particles resulting from machining swarf, iron, aluminium or copper”. It’s an interesting statistic, and one that engine manufacturers make every effort to minimise to the point...

Multi-profile camshafts

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The most widely used term in the 21st century automotive world is surely the verb ‘to optimise’. Meaning “to make the best or most effective use of a situation or resource”, in the modern world and with so many variables, engine design must surely be a case in point. But in ensuring that each cylinder flows an equal amount of air, the cam is only part of the equation. These days, with the advent of computer design technology, designs are much more sophisticated, and...

Coating superalloys using CVD

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In various RET-Monitor articles on materials, the use of superalloys in race engines has been covered. Their originally intended use was in gas turbine engines for the aerospace industry, and they were developed specifically for their capability at elevated temperatures. They are directly responsible for significant steps forward in gas turbine engine development, with limiting component surface temperature having increased well over 150 C since the 1970s due to materials alone. In...

Rapid prototyping

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The recent article on additive manufacturing in Race Engine Technology (issue 76, February 2014) by David Cooper was a good read; the possibilities of this technology are almost limitless, and con rods are perhaps an ideal opportunity for this production process. The con rods used in Formula One are beautifully engineered and, in common with a great many racing rods, are machined all over – that is, every external surface is machined. You might imagine that this gives the mechanical...