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Combustion visualisation

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The focus on downsizing powerplants in many racing series, for example Formula One and sportscar racing, has seen direct-injection (DI) gasoline engines become more common. The development of such engines is no easy task and requires extensive simulation and testing to ensure that systems are working to their optimum. When it comes to testing and analysing factors such as injector spray patterns and the combustion process itself,  much reliance is placed on CFD simulation. However,...

Le Mans transmission development

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The Le Mans 24 Hours is one of the toughest tests of racecar endurance in the world. Nowhere else are components and personnel presented with the same combination of relentless racing, an unforgiving circuit and ever-changing track conditions. In the past, transmission reliability has proved particularly troublesome and, while the current generation of Prototype and GT gearboxes are generally reliable, constant r&d by manufacturers is required to ensure they stay that way. The internals...

‘External’ lash caps for inverted bucket cam followers

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In engines with overhead camshafts, the choice of cylindrical translating followers is very common, both in passenger car and bespoke race engines. These are in the form of ‘inverted buckets’ (also called tappet buckets), with the flat ‘bottom’ of the bucket being the contact surface between cam and follower.        Other types of cam followers, such as finger followers, may offer a number of advantages – including lower reciprocating mass,...

CFD versus tunnel versus track – part 2

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As we saw in part 1 of this discussion, Formula One aerodynamics is driven by several toolsets – track testing, full scale tunnel, model scale tunnel testing and CFD. In part 1 we looked at the list on the left of the mind map below, so in this part I want to move on from there and work down the list on the right. Rate of change of car state: This is best illustrated by the braking event at the end of a straight. Here the car changes from a low ride height (high downforce pushing the...


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For reasons that have been explained in depth in various other F1-Monitor articles, composites are still the favoured material for the construction of much of a modern Formula One car. The composites industry is constantly evolving and new materials with improved properties are being developed. One area of advancement with particular relevance to racing applications has been the development of CFRP (carbon fibre reinforced polymer) varieties that can resist high-temperature environments...