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Which performance to push?

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After having written in my previous article about process control issues, something occurred to me about the differences between engine applications. In general, RET-Monitor and Race Engine Technology magazine put an emphasis on high-performance engines. This often means also high-revving engines, due to the simple assumption that the easiest way to make power is make use of high rpms. What came to mind is what this statement means in regard to other engines. The reason I started thinking...

Keeping valve springs alive on a budget

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In the destructive world of NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Funny Car competition, few parts take more of a beating than valve springs. "What kills them is going up and down 8000 times a minute uncompressed, as close as we can get them," says Jim Dunn, who runs his eponymous Funny Car race team from a small workshop in South Gate, California. Dunn is pretty much of a throwback to the earlier days of straight-line competition, a man who prefers not to use computers in his...

Reed valves: other applications in race engines

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In the previous article on valves, I turned to the subject of reed valves and their use in the induction section of a two-stroke engine. In race series where two-stroke engines are still popular, reed valves are commonly used and, owing to their mechanical simplicity, are likely to remain so. They require no mechanical drive or other actuation, and depend only on pressure differentials to open and close. There have been a number of uses of reed valves on four-stroke engines, some of which...

Titanium alloys

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My previous article on titanium alloys looked at the possible benefits that Ti10-2-3 - an alloy containing 10% vanadium, 2% iron and 3% aluminium - might offer compared to the widely used Ti6-4 material. Ti10-2-3 has found wide use on military and civilian aircraft, commonly in structures where steel has traditionally been the material of choice. As in motor racing, there is a great advantage to be had in the aerospace industry in terms of mass reduction. Since the widespread adoption of...

Porsche hybrid

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During 2010, Porsche achieved another significant first when it won an important motor race using a hybrid vehicle that stored its energy mechanically. When Formula One embraced KERS technology in 2009, the teams which raced these systems did so successfully using chemical storage of energy in the form of batteries. Williams had developed, but didn't race, its flywheel/electric system. Flybrid's pure mechanical system promises excellent efficiency, low mass and good durability, but...