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Post-Turbo Oxygen Concentrator Race Engine

Bypass rules by messing with the composition of air.
  [vote for,

If you listen to motorsports enthusiasts, which is often not a choice, they will drone on about how racing drives technology forwards and that the road cars of tomorrow will benefit immensely from the expensive, fun & noisy circus that is a typical race series. This is of course largely nonsense. Almost all the innovation in F1 for example, is getting around the rules. You can get more out of creative interpretation of the guidelines surrounding the rear crash structure than you can with engine design. The point is, this idea, like careful vortex management and damper packaging isn't useful in the real world, but might represent a creative rule work around.

F1 engines are limited in terms of capacity, i.e. the swept volume of the cylinders is limited to 1.6l, or 0.8l/revolution. They are allowed to mess with this by using a turbocharger, typically they boost 4-5 Bar (60- 75psi, 4-5 atm.). They generate 850-1000bhp, which is impressive for a 1.6l engine, except turbocharger means it's really an 8l engine that consumes 9l engine amounts of fuel because of all the efficiency losses caused by spinning so fast*.

To get more power, you need to burn more fuel, but, the rules constrain the engine size/rpm & turbo pressures, so there's not much left, or is there?

What do we have to work with, well, we already have a supply of 5 Bar compressed air from the turbo, this is to all intents and purposes infinite. We are allowed 2 waste gates electronic or pneumatically controlled, these are to control flow out of the compressor stage. We have an intercooling system. My system fits in just after that.

So, after the intercooler, 5 bar air enters one of two chambers, these will be carbon fiber and a little balloon- like springy if possible to allow pressure buffering. In that chamber, will be zeolite, or whatever exotic high performance material is best. At turbo pressure and below (2Bar normally), this mineral** adsorbs nitrogen causing the remaining gas to be O2 enriched. Adsorbing N2 will cause a volume/pressure drop that will increase the efficiency of the compressor/intercooler stage. Now the engine may breath air deficient in useless N2/enriched for O2. More fuel, more bang, more go.

Obviously the capacity of the adsorption material isn't infinite, hence the dual chambers, once chamber one becomes saturated flow is switched to the second and the first chamber is allowed to depressurize/dump N2 into the exhaust, ahead of the turbine where the flow will help drive the turbo.

What we've built here is a pressure-swing adsorption O2 concentrator. These exist for people who need supplementary O2. In that application, they deliver say, 10l/minute of 90% O2. This is minuscule compared to the 1000's of litres needed for an engine. But, given the high- pressure pump is built in, and expense/exotic materials not a problem, I'd say F1 engineers could build a 1000l/min system into a car. Then, of course, it doesn't need to run all the time. Braking periods & part-throttle cornering are at least 1/3rd of a lap & additional power isn't always advantageous. Also, lower concentration ratios will be exponentially more efficient, taking O2 from 20-30% rather than 90% is likely to be achievable at 10x the rate.

*the positively agricultural NASCAR push-rod V8 engines develop similar power with less fuel, but, you know, smaller engines, more efficient you know.

**available as cat litter

bs0u0155, Jul 20 2020

Back when some effort was put into kid's entertainment. https://www.youtube...watch?v=CLnADKgurvc
Brilliant music. [doctorremulac3, Jul 26 2020]

Zeolite adsorption kinetics https://link.spring...1814-015-0232-6.pdf
[bs0u0155, Jul 27 2020]



       <starts to scribble of back of used envelope/>   

       // Almost all the innovation in F1 for example, is getting around the rules. //   

       What a pity VW don't have an F1 team ...
8th of 7, Jul 21 2020

       Is this adsorption or absorption?
RayfordSteele, Jul 21 2020

       //What a pity VW don't have an F1 team ...//   

       There should be a moratorium on cheats, in motorsport especially, they're a form of genius. Toyota's Celica turbo restrictor workaround is brilliant, but I bet there are better we don't know about.   

       //Is this adsorption or absorption?//   

bs0u0155, Jul 22 2020

       Where do you anticipate them stowing the hundreds of pounds of material?
WcW, Jul 25 2020

       OMG; [WcW]: How nice to see you back here!
pertinax, Jul 25 2020

       Yea, thought we lost another one.   

       Need to start doing head counts.
doctorremulac3, Jul 25 2020

       Creative. Exactly the sort of thing that would get banned right away.   

       I miss the X-wings... now that was some creative rule interpretation.
mitxela, Jul 25 2020

       Beware, beware, the scribbles of the Borg;
For when they're done, you're going to the morgue.
The things begun if guiltless or benign
when made complete, eviscerate your spine!
No car, no food, no pretty thing you sees
or else you'll be covered in jam and bees!
Voice, Jul 25 2020

       Good effort, but the last line needs work on the scansion, and "eviscerate your spine" doesn't really make sense because the spine neither is nor has any abdominal organ.
pertinax, Jul 26 2020

       Thank you
Voice, Jul 26 2020

       It's good but hampered by my reading the first line's cadence as similar to the "Heffalumps and Woozles" song which would need 4 more syllables.   


       Beware, beware, the scribbles of the Borg. For when begun, before he's done you're going to the morgue. (or something)   

       But I'm not sure if that's the rhythm you're going for. If not, I'm going to need some sheet music.   

       Is it inspired by the Winnie The Pooh song or am I missing the mark? (link)
doctorremulac3, Jul 26 2020

       //Where do you anticipate them stowing the hundreds of pounds of material?//   

       I didn't think this was going to be an issue. A few pounds, a few tens of pounds would be workable since this could be placed down low on the inner portions of the side pods for example. The N2 capacity by weight isn't that bad. I'm seeing figures of 1-2 moles N2/Kg of zeolite. That's about 36l of N2 at STP. By cycling the system 30x per minute you could treat 1000l with a Kg, which is actually pretty impressive. The problem is of course <link> that the kinetics aren't that fast. This being chemistry, I assumed things worked quickly, in fact it seems to take 10's of seconds for the on/off kinetics. This is about 15 fold too slow.   

       It could still be done with modest amounts of material but you'd need multiple intake "channels", say 4/cylinder, and the switching is not workable in the f1 rules.   

       Where it could work is in systems where time/weight are non-critical. Generators/ships/trains etc. A 2 stroke marine diesel of 10800l capacity & 100rpm is 540000l air volume could be treated with 432 tonnes of average grade zeolite. This is nothing on an engine where the crankshaft weighs that much. Volume would be on the order of 7-12 standard containers.   

       There would be a host of advantages to this, the nox emissions would be gone, which means you can run more compression. The turbo should be more efficient & you could get ~5x the power per cylinder. That would mean you could make the piston/cylinder arrangement much smaller, with less inefficient sliding surface area.   

       However, if you think a nitrous oxide boosted engine is almost a bomb, this is worse.
bs0u0155, Jul 27 2020


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