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The vast majority of my articles on the subject of fasteners have been specifically on the threaded types. They fulfil a critical role in any engine, and require a degree of understanding and some calculation to work successfully. There are many other fasteners used in a typical race engine, however, that are not so demanding of the engineer. One such fastener that is used widely is the circlip. In this article though we are not going to deal with round wire circlips, as commonly used for...

Surging ahead

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Trying to pick up that last drop of fuel out of the tank is a challenge, especially if the car is developing high g-forces while cornering or under acceleration. However, ensuring complete evacuation of the fuel tank just as the race is finishing not only gives the race engineer a sense of satisfaction but minimises the start weight of the car, giving the equivalent of just that little bit extra engine performance. In a sense therefore, fuel that can’t be picked up out of the tank is...

Intake manifolds

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The design of a modern intake manifold is a relatively straightforward affair. Ensuring that the positive pressure waves reverberating up and down the intake runner arrive just at the same time as the inlet valve is closing sounds simple enough, and given the constraints of a single-cylinder engine at a fixed rotational speed, so it is. However, add the complexities of a multi-cylinder arrangement at a wide range of engine speeds, feeding through a single throttle plate, and the degree of...

Lubrication: nanotechnology

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As has been mentioned before in these articles, transmission losses are of great interest to race engineers, especially those in series where power outputs are closely matched. NASCAR is a case in point; at restrictor plate races such as the Daytona 500, a few hp can mean the difference between running at the front or the back of the pack. With engine development increasingly stymied, other avenues of investigation are needed to gain a competitive advantage. Parasitic losses, particularly...

Piston rings – materials

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While there is always something new going on with piston design, we tend to see less obvious development with piston rings. Visually it is pretty obvious with a piston that someone has a new concept or idea, and we can see from looking at new pistons at various trade shows that fresh design concepts appear that take advantage of new materials or different manufacturing methods. Piston ring development is very much more incremental though – evolution rather than revolution. The...