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Low carbon fuels

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Today, we are told, is the beginning of the Low Carbon Age. The Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age have come and gone while the Fossil Fuel Age, if you believe many of the pundits, is slowly to be phased out. Ahead of us, or so it would appear, lies the future of maintenance-free electric motors and expensive failing batteries. Setting aside the practicalities of how we actually generate this low carbon electricity, I would just like to point out that even as I write there is one...

Variable flow oil pumps

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The science of engine development is one of incremental steps; small but measurable increases in power over a period of time. Improvements in port flow, increasing the engine rev limit or changes in intake or exhaust system sizes will, no doubt, help. But while that is undoubtedly the high profile, glamorous part of development, as far as engine performance goes, it is only half the story. The other, perhaps less glamorous part is that of minimising the parasitic losses; the friction in...

It's all about consistency

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For John Force Racing co-crew chiefs Dean ‘Guido’ Antonelli and Ron Douglas, the 2009 Funny Car season has been all about consistency. Include the selection of Venolia pistons in that mix because, as Antonelli points out, “In our current configuration, the pistons are relatively the same on all eight cylinders. They may vary from cylinder to cylinder, depending on the distribution of air coming out of the blower,” he allowed. If the pair are getting driver Ashley...

The oil control ring

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If the top compression ring has the most difficult of tasks in the engine then, at the other end of the piston ring pack, the oil control ring doesn’t have it much easier. Travelling at an average speed approaching 4000 feet per second or so, the component has to strip away any excess oil from the cylinder bore on the downward stroke and ensure just sufficient passes to lubricate the upper rings. The excess oil is then forced through the ring and drains back to the crankcase via a...

Which hardening method is best?

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Last month we looked into induction hardening of crankshafts and the inherent differences between that process and nitriding. We saw that induction hardening carries significant potential benefits; the main one being that the crankshaft is only heated locally which means that distortion can be effectively managed. There is also no maximum limit on case depth with induction hardening, which is potentially a benefit in terms of strength but also a potential risk. Any experienced crankshaft...