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Radial engagement

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When we talk about the engagement of a male and female threaded fastener, it is commonly in the context of the length of engagement, which is often specified in order to prevent damage to the female thread by stripping or fatigue. However, there is usually no discussion of radial thread engagement. The amount of radial thread engagement is referenced to the pitch of the thread and the nominal diameter, and is controlled by varying the inner diameter of the female thread. It is usual to...


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The primary objective of any race engine is to produce power – preferably lots of it – but to do so a number of factors need to be in place. Clearly it needs a plentiful supply of oxygen, so the engine should be designed to gulp as much air as possible and retain it inside the cylinder. However, that is not the only supply of oxygen available, for lurking inside most gasoline fuels these days is another source, and although it is ‘locked’ up in the fuel in the form of...

The intake manifold – wide-open throttle for max power?

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Ever since the dawn of the internal combustion engine, it must surely have been self-evident that the most efficient way of introducing the intake charge into the engine is by using a single straight intake tract. The tract may converge slightly to accelerate the flow, and somewhere down its length a throttling mechanism can be included, but in terms of getting the best air distribution across all cylinders this is now the accepted practice. These days of course we are all too familiar...


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When one thinks of transmission lubricants, oil is of course the first one that comes to mind. However, grease also plays a vital role in driveline lubrication. This importance was highlighted in the NASCAR Cup series at the start of the 2013 season, when a regulation change increased the loads at the rear axle. The regulation in question allowed for an increase in rear camber from the previously specified 1.8° to 3°. Although increasing the camber in an independent front suspension...

How many rings to use?

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If we look at sectioned drawings of some old piston engines, we might be able to count many more piston rings being used per piston than we would find these days. We might see multiple rings placed above the piston pin (as we would find now) but these might also be augmented by one or more rings below the piston pin, placed towards the bottom of the piston skirt. Cylinder sealing was much worse in years gone by – oil leakage past the rings was very bad, and rates of blow-by of...