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Piston ring materials

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The piston rings used in a race engine are primarily a seal, controlling the flow of oil upwards into the combustion chamber and the flow of blow-by gases into the crankcase. We don't want oil to get into the combustion chamber; in large enough quantities it can cause combustion problems, but even in small quantities where the oil is burned, the loss of oil can be serious, causing us to carry a supply of oil with us. On the road, this isn't a huge problem. In a race though, it means...

Fillet rolling

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If you regularly read the RET-Monitor articles or Race Engine Technology magazine, the value of residual compressive stress will not be lost on you. When considering the design of a critical part, it is common to specify a surface treatment that leaves the surface of the part in a state of compressive stress. Such processes have often been used in a remedial sense in the past, as a quick-fix for a fatigue problem. With the increasing use of stress analysis software, however, engineers are...

Active dyno test cells

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Advanced active engine dynamometers are invariably housed in test cells, where the test environment can be closely controlled. This month I want to look at the design and engineering requirements of these cells, specifically the installation and types of ancillary systems including, but not limited to, coolant and environmental systems. Engine testing is essentially a scientific experiment and, as such, as many factors as possible need to be tightly controlled to ensure reliable and...

Le Mans transmissions

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The Le Mans 24 Hours is the sternest test for all racing vehicle systems, especially the transmission. So what are the steps transmission manufacturers take to ensure that these components are durable enough to survive the punishment of a 24-hour race, while still remaining lightweight and as efficient as possible? One area that has seen considerable development in recent years is the material choice for the transmission casings, with new techniques allowing for lighter units that still...

Variations in lash cap design

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Lash caps (also widely known as tappet shims) are probably the most innocuous of valvetrain components. They are inherently stiff and, owing to their size, they weigh very little. There is therefore no real incentive to change their design, because any gain in stiffness or low mass will be negligible. It is far better that the design engineer spends his or her time in the pursuit of loftier goals. The humble lash cap is there simply to provide some basic adjustment in the system such that...