Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Single fluid Engine

Uses the same oil for fuel, lubricant and coolant
  (+4, -9)(+4, -9)
(+4, -9)
  [vote for,

The modern automobile needs a bewildering array of liquids to be poured into it before it is ready to go.

Simplify! Simplify!

In order to bring order to this chaotic situation, I propose an engine - a prime mover - which will use, as for as possible, just one fluid.

A thick oil - so that it lubricates. It will burn this very same oil. Could be turbine, or the old boiler - piston - condenser type, if the internal combustion thing is hard to get going with a thick fuel. The working fluid will be the same oil, in that case. The cooling system will circulate the very same fluid. Oil has less heat capacity than water, so a larger volume of it will have to be circulated. Could be a vegetable oil, so that you can fry fish n' chips in it.

So just one reservoir of oil serves as the fuel tank, oil sump and radiator. You don't have to wonder whether you are out of radiator fluid, lubricating oil or fuel. When you top up that one tank, you've topped up all three.

At the end of the trip, a touch on the w.washer knob and a fine spray covers the windshield, the wipers gently wave and then the remains of squashed bugs and dust disappear in a flash of flame.

Haven't been away, just lurking.

neelandan, Sep 13 2005

(??) This could stick up like a hood scoop... http://www.fsifilte...efinery%20small.gif
[normzone, Sep 13 2005]

prototype refinery engine http://flatheaddrag...s98kl/98mbrown2.jpg
[normzone, Sep 13 2005]

Baked: naphtha engine https://en.wikipedi...unch#Naphtha_engine
An external combustion engine that uses naphtha as both the fuel and working fluid [discontinuuity, Jan 12 2019]


       Sounds like a two-stroke lawnmower.
supercat, Sep 13 2005

       <Presses the button to squirt windshield wiper fluid. Taken directly from the crankcase, it’s a viscous, burnt-black oil.> “God, I can’t see a flipping thing!” <And doesn't see the telephone pole rushing at him.>
ldischler, Sep 13 2005

       This sounds much like the first engines. Before they made them work properly.
wagster, Sep 13 2005

       /just lurking/ well, good to see you've ceased lurking for a bit.
david_scothern, Sep 13 2005

       But the whole point of using multiple liquids is that some are better than others at each job. You said yourself that this oil wouldn't be as effective for combustion or heat capacity.
Germanicus, Sep 13 2005

       Nope, sorry, go back to lurking if this is the best you can do. (like your profile BTW)
zeno, Sep 13 2005

       This could work, it just needs to be more complex.   

       Have a small refinery under the hood of every automobile, and turn crude into motor oil, transmission fluid, gasoline, brake fluid, coolant, refrigerant, and washer fluid.
normzone, Sep 13 2005

       consider that for many years there have been air cooled engines.   

       that removes 1 fluid   

       manual or pneumatic steering   

       thats 2 gone   

       manual transmission   

       3 gone   

       now we haVE 2 options, go with a thin oil that goes thru a heater for thinning like 0w-30 or just go electric and voila (thats french for presto!)
Arcanus, Nov 22 2008

       I have a weedeater that only takes one fluid, a mixture of gas and oil.
Spacecoyote, Nov 22 2008

       why would you want to use the same fluid for lubrication that you use for combustion? Isn't it intuitive that the fluid that lubricates the rings is going, by near necesity, to have different properties from the fuel? Hopelessly compromised. On the other hand i have heard tell of truckers who ran out of fuel pouring crankcase oil into the fuel tank to make a burnable blend.
WcW, Nov 23 2008

       Very well, a fuel oil pump in a hydrodynamic suspension would be nice to function as a bearing too. But you have to simplify the engine first, a likely candidate would be a rotary engine of some sort with bearings at each ends of driveshaft. Also, the fluid is in continous flow such that it can act as heat regenerator before being burned. And so, in some way, a new CVT would be operated by varying the pump pressure. And so it would be the Single Fluid Engine you've dreamed after... Good luck for your quest!   

       (Your idea is very much plausible, just scrap that wiper thing anyways... just wondering why they boned you right away... hmmmmm, must be a controversial idea - imagine scrapping out multibillion industries catering to redundancy just to earn their respective worldly shares?)
rotary, Nov 25 2008

       the multi billion dollar ethylene glycol industry? The real problem here is that we need an engineered hydrocarbon that performs cooling, lubricating, suspension, transmission, and fuel purposes over a wide temperature range. This fluid would need to be close to conventional fuel in cost, meet similar emissions standards, and have competitive performance for all the purposes it is used for. Then you are beholden to the OMNIFLUIDS co. for all your fluid needs. There doesn't need to be a conspiracy against this idea, it goes against common sense. I pay a premium price for my transmission fluid because it has special properties that my fuel does not have.
WcW, Nov 25 2008

       //truckers who ran out of fuel pouring crankcase oil into the fuel tank to make a burnable blend//   

       If anyone saw "Scrappy Races" (a UK spinoff from Scrapheap Challenge) they had a great unintentional demonstration of a diesel engine running on its own sump oil. The engine was destroyed.
Srimech, Nov 26 2008

       death in the desert vs. running a 50/50 fuel oil bend and ruining my engine. I think i know what i would choose.
WcW, Nov 26 2008

       WcW, I agree. The engine mentioned did indeed produce a lot of power before its demise. The reason it was running on its own sump oil was because they had accidentally removed the governor and then killed the normal fuel supply in an attempt to stop it. If it had been in gear, it might have got a fair few miles before the lack of lubrication seized it.
Srimech, Nov 28 2008

       There are many SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) rules against doing this including the possibility of the engine catching fire. Engine oil used for cooling is not a new idea, but worthy of consideration only on small industrial combustion engines with adequate ventilation and air cooling considerations like out door oil field engines. FYI: those chuga chuga oil field pumping engines are cooled by the oil being pumped.
fasteddy, Jan 16 2009

       //Engine oil used for cooling is not a new idea, but worthy of consideration only on small industrial combustion engines with adequate ventilation and air cooling considerations like out door oil field engines.//   

       It's more prevalent than that. Any "air cooled" engine is really oil>air. My motorcycle has an oil cooler that is functionally equivalent to a water radiator, that's not so common in 4cyl road bikes like mine but is very common on single cylinder enduro/dirt bikes. The oil is doing double duty as coolant/lubricant or often triple duty as the working fluid in the clutch. In some cars, an old Renault turbo diesel I had for example, had an oil cooler inside the radiator, mainly for the extra heating load caused by the oil-fed turbocharger. So that was oil>water>air.
bs0u0155, Jan 14 2019

       The advantage of water is that it's very cheap, non-flammable, non-toxic*, ubiquitous, and has a very high specific heat - probably the most desirable property in a coolant.   

       If you use oil, you need wider coolant channels and higher flow rates, a larger radiator, and a supply of expensive oil. If your coolant system leaks, do you lose your lubricant too ? Double whammy ...   


       *Geographical restrictions may apply.
8th of 7, Jan 14 2019

       //Single fluid Engine   

       A waterwheel? Given the rainfall in the UK, you'd hardly ever need to top up the tank.
not_morrison_rm, Jan 14 2019

       You couldn't run a tank off a waterwheel - tanks have to go across country, and up and down hills. You'd need extraordinary amounts of hose ...
8th of 7, Jan 14 2019

       //If you use oil, you need wider coolant channels and higher flow rates, a larger radiator, and a supply of expensive oil. If your coolant system leaks, do you lose your lubricant too ?//   

       There's no disputing the capacity/utility of water. It's great at keeping the temperature in a narrow window, water cooled engines can then run tighter tolerances and high compression. Conversely, an oil-cooled engine runs looser tolerances allowing component expansion. You burn a little oil/lose compression when cold but the engine can heat up beyond the temps that water would allow, at say 135C you reject heat much more quickly than 95C, and you gain efficiency although that's offset against running lower compression ratio to avoid detonation. Running oil alone suits applications like big dirt bikes, it's considered less vulnerable since most of the oil is inside galleries within the block/crank/gear case with hard lines to the oil-cooler. Losing the oil is pretty catastrophic, but since that's also true with a water- cooled engine it's no more vulnerable. Oil alone gets you a lot of simplicity, resilience and lower weight at the expense of a little fuel efficiency, a reasonable tradeoff in many cases.
bs0u0155, Jan 14 2019

       // big dirt bikes //   

       But is that both air cooling fins and oil circulation cooling, or pure oil circulation ?   

       Water-cooled engines rarely have any special provision for radiative or convective cooling direct from the block, which makes them more compact.
8th of 7, Jan 14 2019

       I note you've wisely refrained from using a single fluid containing both the fuel and oxidiser, i.e. an explosive.
caspian, Jan 21 2019

       A substance containing both fuel and oxidiser may well be unstable, indeed hypergolic, but is not necessarily explosive, or explosive only under certain conditions.   

       All propellants have that characteristic, and although the rate of reaction is high, it is not a detonation (a true "explosion"). It is only deflagration, or very rapid combustion. To the untrained observer, however, it is not easy to make a fine discrimination, particularly if you're doing the sensible thing of diving for the nearest solid cover to avoid any shrapnel.
8th of 7, Jan 21 2019

       Sorry, I have been away. What did I miss?   

       Carry on.
neelandan, Jan 21 2019

       // What did I miss? //   

       What's the last thing you remember ?   

       Basically, the Doctor has regenerated as a female, the U.S. Government went into receivership and they're inviting bids from potential buyers, David Blaine's doing some really weird stunt that so far has (unfortunately) failed to kill him, Mars Bars have got smaller, and it turns out that the Moon landings really were faked, on a Universal Studios sound stage built on Mars.
8th of 7, Jan 21 2019


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