Valve float


Valve float

Valve float is an adverse condition which occurs when the poppet valves on an internal combustion engine valvetrain do not remain in contact with the camshaft lobe during the valve closure phase of the cam lobe profile. This reduces engine efficiency and performance and potentially increases engine emissions.

Valve bounce is a related condition where the valve does not stay seated, due to the combined effects of the valve's inertia and resonance effects of metallic valve springs that effectively reduce the closing force, and allow the valve to re-open partially.

Stiffer valve springs can help prevent valve float and valve bounce, but only at the expense of increased friction losses. Various techniques have been used to offset the effect of stiffer springs, such as dual-spring and progressive-sprung valves, roller-tipped tappets, and pneumatic valves.

Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati uses the desmodromic (springless) valve system to counter this problem and allow for higher engine speeds. The system consists of a mechanical lifter mechanism that uses a second rocker arm to push the valve closed. Formula 1 racing engine manufacturers use a pneumatic system to close the valves to allow for very high RPM without valve float.


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