Sustaining Future

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Small high performance engine

MIT researchers come up with the idea of using E85 ethanol to prevent knocking when a gasoline engine is running at high temperature. As a result, a given size engine can produce about twice the power. Instead of keeping the size, a half-size engine would have the same performance of the comparable full-size engine, but an increased efficient resulting in a 30% reduction of fuel consumption.

Since ethanol is only used at a 5 to 100 ratio to petrol, ethanol would be filled once a few months. So effectively, it is like petrol-engine.

When I was still in Hong Kong (that's over 13 years ago), my standard petrol car has an "after-production" add-on water-injection which increased the efficient of my car by about 10 to 20% depending on driving condition.

The theory then was to use the water to increase the surface area of the petrol just before it is ignited by the spark-plug. The test at Hong Kong Polytechnics at the time demonstrated marked improvement in emission. That was the original result I installed the system.

Unfortunately, the water injection system failed only after working for about 2 years - due to the blockage of the injection needle and I was no mood to get it fixed. Anyway, the modification, though not working, did not create any noticeable performace degradation - just return to the original state. Quite remarkable!

I don't know how that technology is going now. Hope it is still alive and somebody is still improving it.


Blogger Albert Ip said...

After doing a quick search on the web, I found this WATER INJECTION WIZARDRY. The article offers a different explanation from what I heard from the developer at that time. I believe this explanation is more up-to-date and more accurate. (Increase of surface area by water droplet just do not happen at the operating temperature of a cyclinder.) Here is the quote of the explanation:
"First, because the water cools the gas-air mixture, there is greater potential for expansion (since pressure is directly proportional to temperature). Second, combustion turns the water droplets to vapor . . . which also helps create a pressure bonus ( much as the same substance drives a steam engine).

Finally—and most significantly—the conversion of water to steam consumes heat (at a rate of about 1,100 calories per gram of the liquid) at a very critical instant. This absorption of heat prevents the temperature of combustion from rushing to a sharp peak (as it does in a standard engine) and then dropping rapidly off. Instead, the car's heat increases more slowly, reaches a lower peak, and descends much more gradually. (In addition, the longer overall combustion duration creates more pressure than does a standard engine's cycle.) "

10:09 pm  

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