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  #61 (permalink)  
Old 02-19-2008, 05:46 PM
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I just read that article ....'''....efficiency of engines....''. the only thing I got out of it was, 12 to 1 compression with alcohol was the highest at 52%.......Sounds like a good excuss to re-build my motor !!!. Seriously thou, you can't tell me that in the last 50 years,nobody can make a car get better milage ? (like 50 mpg) Our cars 50 years ago got almost 20, 17 even when they burned a little oil !

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  #62 (permalink)  
Old 02-19-2008, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knighthawk
I just read that article ....'''....efficiency of engines....''. the only thing I got out of it was, 12 to 1 compression with alcohol was the highest at 52%.......Sounds like a good excuss to re-build my motor !!!.

I don't pretend to understand that report fully, either, but it seems pretty clear there is a limit to how efficient we can make internal combustion engines. We will hit that limit. Notice in "Graphic 1" that the curve is flattening out at the top -- diminishing returns.

Electric motors are already far more efficient; we just don't have efficient fuel storage. A gallon jug of gasoline packs a lot of power. Take that same mass in a battery and it would be fine for a backup for your computer, but you won't drive far with it. With today's batteries, an electric vehicle is good for fairly short trips -- a 25 mile commute, for instance. In most cases the use of an electric vehicle pushes the emissions controls and energy production upstream to a large, central facility where economies of scale come into play. (Ignoring those cases where the owner of the vehicle is in a position to produce his own electricity). The "green" gains come from that centralization (efficiency of production and cost of controls) and the recyclability of the batteries.

Now try to imagine the typical Peterbilt rolling down the highway with the payload reduced by the number of batteries it would take to haul that load.

It would be great if we had highly efficient motors and highly compact energy (fuel storage). We don't. Different situations require different solutions, yet there is a one size fits all approach that has been sold for decades. (Sometimes the buying and selling was stealthy).

I expect to see lots of experimenting going on. I just don't expect there to be a single replacement for petroleum unless there is some monopoly established equivalent to the old Standard Oil. Scientific research says we can't continue on the same path we've been on for a whole lot longer. Diversification is healthy (see the insect world). Biofuels, hydrogen, diesel, gasoline, electric and combinations of those will likely be experimented with for some time to come. I just don't expect multi-national corporations to lead the way. They have too much invested in current markets to stray as far as individuals and start-up businesses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by knighthawk
Seriously thou, you can't tell me that in the last 50 years,nobody can make a car get better milage ? (like 50 mpg) Our cars 50 years ago got almost 20, 17 even when they burned a little oil !
Heh. You may have missed the "car hacker" link. That's an 8 webpage article but it's very interesting, IMO. Maybe a few chosen quotes are in order...

Quote:
Goodwin's work proves that a counterattack is possible, and maybe easier than many of us imagined. If the dream is a big, ****** ride that's also clean, well, he's there already. As he points out, his conversions consist almost entirely of taking stock GM parts and snapping them together in clever new ways. "They could do all this stuff if they wanted to," he tells me, slapping on a visor and hunching over an arc welder. "The technology has been there forever. They make 90% of the components I use." He doesn't have an engineering degree; he didn't even go to high school: "I've just been messing around and seeing what I can do."

[...]

"Think about it," Goodwin laughs. "A 5,000-pound vehicle that gets 60 miles to the gallon and will do zero to 60 in five seconds!"

[...]

"Detroit could do all this stuff overnight if it wanted to," he adds.

In reality, Goodwin's work has begun to influence some of Detroit's top auto designers, but through curious and circuitous routes. [...] So GM decided to flip the switch: It announced the same year that, beginning in 2008, it would convert its gasoline Hummers to run on ethanol; by 2010, it said, Hummers would be biodiesel-compatible.

[...]

But until I contacted Hummer for this story, GM didn't know that the man behind those machines was none other than Goodwin.
I'd say your gut feelings are right. There's more power to be squeezed from current off the shelf parts than what is being sold to us. When the marketing focuses on cupholders instead of not wasting the power in a gallon of gasoline, we can't expect much leadership from the corporations behind the marketing blitz and glitz. Corporations follow proven, safe, economical paths. They don't blaze very many.
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  #63 (permalink)  
Old 02-19-2008, 09:25 PM
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quote ......(beginning in 2008, it would convert its gasoline Hummers to run on ethanol; by 2010, it said, Hummers would be biodiesel-compatible).........My question to this is...how can it possibley take 3, 4, or 5 years to convert an engine to any of these fuels ? How can it take 3,4, or 5 years to change the compression, maybe dist. differnet injectors ?????? That's like bringing your car to a shop for an overhaul, and him telling you it won't be done til 5 years from now !
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  #64 (permalink)  
Old 02-20-2008, 08:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knighthawk
quote ......(beginning in 2008, it would convert its gasoline Hummers to run on ethanol; by 2010, it said, Hummers would be biodiesel-compatible).........My question to this is...how can it possibley take 3, 4, or 5 years to convert an engine to any of these fuels ? How can it take 3,4, or 5 years to change the compression, maybe dist. differnet injectors ?????? That's like bringing your car to a shop for an overhaul, and him telling you it won't be done til 5 years from now !
Welcome to BIG BUSINESS!

They have Prior Commitments to their stock holders Mortgage Co. Yacht payments Leer jets you know the whole enchilada.

Plus the Guys @ the Oil Co. you know the ones with the crooked noses will beat their chins off with a lead pipe.

I mean come on have a heart you wouldn't want them guys @ GM with their 10 BILLION Dollar Fiscal year loss to loose all their perks now would ya?




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  #65 (permalink)  
Old 02-20-2008, 09:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knighthawk
quote ......(beginning in 2008, it would convert its gasoline Hummers to run on ethanol; by 2010, it said, Hummers would be biodiesel-compatible).........My question to this is...how can it possibley take 3, 4, or 5 years to convert an engine to any of these fuels ? How can it take 3,4, or 5 years to change the compression, maybe dist. differnet injectors ?????? That's like bringing your car to a shop for an overhaul, and him telling you it won't be done til 5 years from now !
Simple. If you are GM or any other volume producer, you don't have to do one. You have to do 250,000 in a year... 1200 a work day... and they have to meet regulatory standards... built by production workers, who may have some mechanical talent but are not skilled mechanics.

You can't take the time to tune and correct some things that didn't work exactly right the first time. They have to **** and git right from jump street. Anything you do in that business takes some time and planning, and there are a lot of things you can do one at a time that you can't do one a minute.... and one a minute is their business. Been there and own a lot of Tshirts.
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  #66 (permalink)  
Old 02-21-2008, 09:59 AM
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O K , but........( I know I'n going to _iss some one off here , )but ..what about all those high paid engineers ? I wish somebody would pay me a '6 figure' or is it 7 figure income, to play and experiment with a research lab! I just barely got thru high school , and can fix ANYTHING you can break ! You gotta admit, like ...., inventing a convertor to burn the gas AFTER it leaves the engine ,is not really very smart ! Sounds like another Oil company involvement here.....
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  #67 (permalink)  
Old 02-21-2008, 04:52 PM
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I am really hoping you didn't intend on saying you could do an engineers job, fresh out of high school. I recently graduated, kid, (and thats what you are), and let me tell you that you really don't know jack out of school. No one does.

Theres a reason these people get paid such big money, and why they had to go to school (and not just high school). There is far more involved in most things than I think you realize.
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  #68 (permalink)  
Old 02-21-2008, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by BMM
I am really hoping you didn't intend on saying you could do an engineers job, fresh out of high school. I recently graduated, kid, (and thats what you are), and let me tell you that you really don't know jack out of school. No one does.
I'm not sure what "kid" you're referring to, but that's a pretty wide blanket you've cast. I don't think it will fit so widely as it has been thrown.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BMM
Theres a reason these people get paid such big money, and why they had to go to school (and not just high school). There is far more involved in most things than I think you realize.
Mysteries are for solving. Not all solutions require "big money", nor do they all come from people being paid such. History is filled with significant advances made by people without much formal education in the art or science they advanced. It's also filled with pre-dismissal of their efforts by those with advanced formal education. There's a lesson in there, somewhere. Maybe it's that potential is not directly proportional to education.
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  #69 (permalink)  
Old 02-21-2008, 08:52 PM
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O K , let me straighten this out ;; I don't know what 'kid' you're referring to .....It's been almost 50 years since I was in high school ( or any school ) ,, as far as the engineers are concerned, they are very smart people. I guess what I'm trying to say is.... I don't agree with some their assignments......( I think )
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  #70 (permalink)  
Old 02-21-2008, 09:26 PM
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Im very sorry, I didn't see you age. I obviously read your post wrong, thinking you were 17, and belittleing the work of engineers and scientists.

No disrespect meant, as Im sure you have much more knowledge than me


Grouch, I do agree not all advancements have taken place in a lab or been conducted by researchers. I do however beleive per capita, engineers and scientists are responsible for things working as they do. However, you are correct, many acheivments have been made by people who were thought to be crazy, or backyard madmen.

Look at Galileo. He was prosecuted for his beleives...and what do you know? They were right. Just goes to show, you never quite know.

Again, sorry for the disrespect Knight.
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  #71 (permalink)  
Old 02-22-2008, 06:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knighthawk
I just read that article ....'''....efficiency of engines....''. the only thing I got out of it was, 12 to 1 compression with alcohol was the highest at 52%.......Sounds like a good excuss to re-build my motor !!!. Seriously thou, you can't tell me that in the last 50 years,nobody can make a car get better milage ? (like 50 mpg) Our cars 50 years ago got almost 20, 17 even when they burned a little oil !
Quote:
Originally Posted by knighthawk
O K , but........( I know I'n going to _iss some one off here , )but ..what about all those high paid engineers ? I wish somebody would pay me a '6 figure' or is it 7 figure income, to play and experiment with a research lab! I just barely got thru high school , and can fix ANYTHING you can break ! You gotta admit, like ...., inventing a convertor to burn the gas AFTER it leaves the engine ,is not really very smart ! Sounds like another Oil company involvement here.....
As a high paid engineer who is also a gearhead, these two posts did catch my attention. Fifty years ago, most engines drove a generator. There was a clutch which only slipped when it needed replaced. There may have been a heater and an AM radio with one tiny speaker. Today we have cars which get 50 mpg while the engine drives a PS pump, an AC compressor. You don't have to clutch and shift. Inside, there are air bags, surround sound, cup holders, gps, etc., etc., etc.
And, the internal combustion engine, while very good, is no where near perfect for the application. It must operate in temperatures ranging from -40 F to 120 F. It must go from putting around town in stop and go to 75 mph. It must pull the car with one driver in it one day and 5 adults with 4 suitcases the next. It is unable to convert all of the heat generated in the combustion of fuel to torque to drive the wheels. A good approximation is that 1/3 of the energy goes to the wheels, 1/3 goes out the exhaust, and 1/3 goes into the cooling system. And, for a multitude of reasons, some fuel will not burn and get dumped into the exhaust. You can shift these number around slightly, resulting in small gains, but you will never get 100% combustion and you will never get 100% of the energy to the wheels. This is what some of the high paid engineers employed by the car makers are doing. They are working on shifting these numbers and increasing the percentage of fuel which gets burned. The rest are employed to make the cars safer, cleaner, more aerodynamic, and more comfortable. And until gas tripled in price, 99% of the people buying new cars probably could have cared less if the percentage going to the rear wheels was 33% or 36%.
As for my credentials, I have the best of both worlds. I started helping the older neighborhood kids with their cars when I was about 11. Bought my first car at 15. Went to VoTech for auto mechanics at 19. Worked as a mechanic and shop manager on and off for 15 years. Drag raced a 3800 lb. station wagon. Worked as a stock broker and insurance salesman (where did that one come from? ! ?). Received my BSME at age 34 (took Internal Combustion Engine Theory as an engineering elective). Went to work designing pressure vessels. I now manage a group of young engineers in the same field. (I also ran a small business selling toy trains as a second job for a while). And I am building a 41 Chevy (check my journal).
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  #72 (permalink)  
Old 02-22-2008, 10:00 AM
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bottom line here is : over the last 50 years, most of the changes or improvements have been in making , safe, comfortable cars. Before you engineers get pissed here, I want to say :I give you guys a lot of credit for the work you do, but, some times I wonder ! Some of my best freinds are 'engineers' , even a V P of engineering, it's like he always tells me'' you have to see the end result '' and that can only research what your told to do , ....As for 'Redsdad', I see by your address that I live about an hour and half North of you, maybe we can get together some time.... there's a V P of Engineering that lives about 2 hours East of here ,builds woodies (cars) from scratch , also a very smart guy. I like toy trains.
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:36 AM
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I wish somebody would pay me a '6 figure' or is it 7 figure income, to play and experiment with a research lab!
I'm an engineer too... I wish someone would pay me a 6 or 7 figure income!
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  #74 (permalink)  
Old 02-22-2008, 12:03 PM
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You know, in the shop over the years you hear over and over how stupid the engineers are who designed the cars. Nearly ever tech both mechanical and collision have said it at least once, including me. Then I got involved with Toyota and GM and knowing some people on the inside who have worked in this industry for year including some design work. The engineer have a real tough job of mixing production, cost, availablilty and the like. After talking with these guys there is most every time a damn good reason why something looks as it does. Sometimes there are things like an engine design is made and then the surrounding componants are added later and they don't match. It is just the way the system works.

Brian
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  #75 (permalink)  
Old 02-22-2008, 05:54 PM
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When was the last time you ever heard an engineer for a large corporation say that he or she was given a free hand?

They don't get to apply their knowledge and skills (and the corporate budget) in solving whatever problem fascinates them. They get paid to make 'it' work within the constraints given by management, marketing, legal, accounting and other segments of the business that employs them. The larger the corporation, the more constrained the engineer. Tucker wouldn't have gotten 1 of his ideas onto a GM, Ford or Chrysler assembly line at the time.

The larger the company, the more risk averse they are. This is why individuals and start-ups make most of the leaps (and goofs). Sometimes it's an engineer, possibly frustrated with the pace. The Dymaxion car used a Ford engine but outstripped the Fords of the time in speed, gas mileage, maneuvering and passenger capacity. Sometimes, it's someone surprising, like an actress, who makes a leap in technology.

Given the boundaries imposed on engineers by corporations legally obliged to shareholders, it's not really reasonable to expect great leaps in biofuel usage from them. It is reasonable to expect them to take any such leap and squeeze it for every fractional increase in efficiency and to precisely quantify its limits -- in energy, costs, safety and environmental impacts. That goes for any leaps in other means of transportation, too.
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