Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Air Powered Cars, a reality?

After my post on Steam/Air Powered Car I did a little internet searching on an Air Powered Car.

There are several articles over the last few years talking about the impending air car revolution. Most of the articles launch dates for these cars are passed but they still are talking about making them. The majority of the development of these seem to be India, with Tata being the one who seems to be the one leading the development now. The car is suppose to have a top speed of 68 and a range of 125 mph. They would be able to be filled up at a gas station in about 3 minutes through their air compressors for about $2, or the car can be plugged in and an on board compressor will be able to fill it in about 4 hours. These numbers are comparable to most electric car claims, except the 4 hour charge will be availble through a standard power outlet which would make it easier to find somewhere to plug in.

There are of course some problems with this car.

First off to save weight the car is held together by glue. Outside of India, it is pretty doubtful glue will be allowed as the main thing holding a car together.

The second one temperature. When you compress air it gets heats up. As air heats up it expands, which will stop you from efficiently filling up the tanks. While you let the compressed air out it gets cold,which I guess is freezing the motors up. On the plus side the car will have a pretty awesome air conditioner.

The third issue brought up is saying it isn't actually green. The argument is the same as for the electrical cars not really being green. While the car will not be using fossil fuels, the air compressor will, whether the on board one or the one at the gas station has to get power from somewhere, and since most electrical power sources aren't green we aren't helping the enviroment.

Well there is always the rubber band powered car.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

LeMons Dreams

The other night I dreamed that the race was a little over a week away and that we hadn't even started fixing the car yet.

I'm guessing this is the LeMons equivalent of showing up for the dream of having a test and not studying, except in my version it is always that the final is coming up for a class that I had forgotten about and never attended and aren't even sure where the class was. It would normally take a few minutes after I wake up to realize that I'm no longer in college.

Anyways instead of panicking I went about prioritizing what needed to be done right away to give us the best chance to make it through the race. With luck we may have even got the car ready without to much trouble, of course with the residual we got for the car we could almost drop the car off at a mechanic and pay someone to fix it. Not something I'd actually want to do but maybe if we do that I could move the dream forward to the race where the real fun stuff happens, you know staring at the car wondering why it doesn't run.

Of course this might just mean that we should start actually working on the car, or I need to have better dreams.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Steam Engine or maybe Air Engine

Since it looks like the first Electric Lemon is being built no need to continue thinking about that.

Since that is done it leaves the 3 type of classic car power plant. The gasoline engine is extremely well represented. The electric car is on its way. That leaves it for someone to build the steam powered car. For that I give you this beauty.

That is referred to as the Z8 created by Robert Green and found at Green Steam Engines

This engine is designed to be used as a generator but there is no reason it couldn't be used to power a car. The engines vary from 2 cylinder to 16 cylinder models and at least according to the site the power can be in the hundreds. I wouldn't expect the hundreds to be that massive but with a light car it could still work out well.

There are some disadvantages to steam. You need to keep adding water, and it will take a while for the water to heat up enough to turn to steam. You also will need heat the water, and all of that would add weight to your light car to make it not so light. However you don't need to run it with steam. You can run it off air. So instead of connecting all this to a boiler you just need to connect it to an air compressor which when you inevitably break a line you'll just blow air all over the place opposed to really hot water.

Plus as an added bonus these engines all seem to sound like a regular car engine about to have a major failure.

Now there are other options like the 9 cylinder Radial Steam engine

And here is even a radial model that someone already made run on air.

And I'm sure many other types of steam engines someone could use if they look into it. Now we just need someone daring enough to try it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Strange Ramblings on Induced Gravity

**The screen fades from black to an image showing a man wearing a suit and smoking jacket. He is sipping from what appears to be a snifter of dark-amber liquor, and sitting on an an oxblood-leather chair, in a darkened office decorated in dark oak wood and richly decorated with bookshelves with leather-bound books and antiques, as though from a bygone era. A fireplace is blazing in the background, and every few minutes it crackles and pops, giving a warm atmosphere - one can almost smell the scent of birch wood burning. He is initially watching the fireplace, but then turns in his chair, as if on cue, smiling widely to the audience.**

"Why hello, you caught me unawares. My name is Peter, yet another member of the Racing 4 Nickels team."

"My friends, the experiences I shared with my fellow teammates Bob, Jonathan, and Patrick at the Joliet Lemons Race last year were exciting and personally fulfilling, which is why I am glad to be a part of the team once more. And while my activities could be better focused on standard racing-type things, such as - oh, I don't know - improving my driving skills, I find it would be more of a challenge and more satisfying to try to develop some form of esoteric technology to fit the needs of the race and the car itself. I was particularly inspired by Bob's last comment about a hybrid-type modification. Very hoontastic, I exclaimed to myself. But, the question is.... can we get much more hoony? In my opinion, yes."

**At this point, the man crosses his legs in the leather chair, placing the brandy snifter down on a mahogany lampstand nearby. He seems to be wearing bunny slippers.**

"I shan't give many details at this point, as the theory behind what I want to do, and indeed, what I, in fact, desire to do, remain undefined. That being said, whatever it is I am going to do, will be, by necessity, scientific in nature. Perhaps even... something having to do with this image here."

"Whatever the heck it is I am doing, the only question I have at this point is how to let a Lorentzian manifold flap in the breeze. Or, maybe I'll chuck it all and just make 'Moar Bier.'"

"Tah, peoples."

**The camera returns its focus on the fireplace, and then fades to black.**

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pics from Chump Car Road America April 3, 2011

Pete and I made the drive up to see the Chump Car race on Sunday. It was rainy and cold which I think kept even the teams that were still there and running to try and find somewhere warm and dry to hide so we really didn't see anyone around. So we drove around the track and I took some fairly awful pictures which you can find here.
Since words are boring here are some of the less awful pics

It was my first time to actually go to Road America, and I've never realized how much elevation changes that course actually has. Also when they called everyone in because of Lightning, Pete and I took the case to go into Plymouth for a lunch and The Bar-b-que which oddly was really a diner and not a Barbeque place, and I guess since they only served breakfast on Sunday we had brunch. Either way the steak and eggs and coffee was good.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Road America Chump Car race

This weekend one of our drivers, Patrick is racing at Road America in the Chump Car Series. Join us in wishing him good luck, and if your curious to see the race you can see it here