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Tensile-testing video extensometers

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In a previous RET-Monitor we looked at testing the material properties of composites, so this month we will investigate a machine that is particularly suited to tensile testing of such materials, the video extensometer, which can provide an accurate measurement of deformation and failure while also providing invaluable visual data on the method of failure. Material stress is normally calculated by measuring the specimen’s cross-sectional area and relating this to the measured load...

Gear materials and manufacture

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In previous RET-Monitors we have looked at the construction of racing gearbox casings; however, as regards performance and durability, the materials and manufacturing techniques used for their internals are even more important. Although often housed in very different packages, the gears used in transmissions destined for racing use are essentially the same whether they are for a Formula One car or a WRC racer. Generally, racing transmission manufacturers produce gear sets from high-quality...

Heat transfer through valve guides

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In most race engines, much of the heat transfer from the valve to the cooling medium – whether it be oil, water or air – is via the valve seat insert, then into the head and eventually to a fluid that will reject the heat to atmosphere. In the case of the inlet valve, heat flux is only very modest compared to that in an exhaust valve. The inlet valve is kept cool owing to the flow of cool inlet charge over it, and very little heat is rejected to anywhere other than the valve...

High-temperature polymers

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The use of polymers in racing powertrains is relatively limited, their main use normally being as a matrix for fibre-reinforced composites. There have been a number of uses of polymers, both filled and unfilled, to the highest levels of motorsport. However, these are normally special polymers which are far more expensive than those general-purpose plastics that we might normally associate with machinery whose components operate close to ambient temperatures; examples of such materials are...

Power electronics – packaging considerations

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Looking to the future, there is a strong trend emerging in the regulations of some of the major race series to incorporate new technology to make racing power units more efficient. The internal combustion engine is inherently inefficient, and although race engines are generally more efficient than their road-going counterparts – lower friction and higher average throttle openings being two good reasons here – they still throw a lot of energy away in the form of heat. We have heat...