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The small-end bearing

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As critical as it is to the reliable running of any internal combustion engine, the operation of the small- or little-end bearing and its associated gudgeon (or, as often referred to nowadays, the piston pin) is still a bit of mystery. So if at the other end of the con rod, the big-end bearing has been subject to much analysis to aid understanding, the smaller end would seem by comparison to be still shrouded in folklore. And the reason for this to me is very simple: if it ain’t broke...

The camless engine (2)

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The demise of the camshaft has been predicted for many years. Optimised over a narrow window of engine operating range, in one way the camshaft can be used to enhance engine performance, but in others it can also limit it. So when optimised at one particular condition in the real world, where engines are used at a much wider range of speeds and loads, overall the engine may become woefully inefficient. Cam phasers, to adjust intake or exhaust timing (or both) are one way to limit the...

Plasma/thermal sprayed valve seats

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The subject of valve seat materials has been dealt with in RET-Monitor before; an article published in 2012 briefly discussed the requirements for seat materials. There are several important requirements for a valve seat material. It is generally responsible for the vast majority of heat transfer from the poppet valve, it needs to be strong enough not to be deformed by the action of the valve closing onto it, and it needs to be resistant to corrosion, seizure and wear in service. The heat...

Fettling of production steel rods – is it worth the risk?

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The easiest route into motorsport is to use what already exists and then re-use it – for decades the use of a lightly modified production car or motorcycle has been a traditional way to start racing. In motorcycle road racing in particular there has been a shift away from bespoke racing machinery in recent years: where thoroughbred machines filled the paddocks of many race meetings in years past, now production-based racers are the norm. The use of production machinery has not,...

The exhaust heat exchanger

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As a power unit engineer intent on extracting the maximum amount of power and fuel efficiency from a given volume of fossil fuel, without wishing to contradict Newton’s Second Law of Thermodynamics, the fact that any heat rejected is an admission of personal failure. In thermodynamic-speak, ‘heat’ equates to ‘work’, and in rejecting it to the coolant or exhaust gas the opportunity for more ‘work’ (and for that substitute ‘power’) is lost....