Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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The phrase 'crumpled heap' comes to mind.

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Steam engine

Updated steam engine for automobiles
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The goal is to reduce a common failing of all automotive engine designs: need to change the oil. I'm not a mechanical engineer, but I think it would be possible to extend to automobile engines the benefit of a closed lubrication circuit.

The most likely path to success would be to do a "jump and shift," to borrow a term used in the card game bridge. There isn't a compelling reason to switch back to steam technology because of the far greater efficiency and power-to-weight ratios of other engine designs. So we need to couple the switch to steam with another innovation.

How about creating a hydrogen fuel cell that can produce a lot of water, coupled to this new design steam engine? Now to come full circle: because there is no contained explosion, producing waste gases, voila! There can be a closed lubrication circuit for cars, just as we have in all modern electric motors.

undata, Nov 19 2006

Steam Engine Diagram http://science.hows...orks.com/steam1.htm
Animated diagram of steam engine. [undata, Nov 19 2006]


       Not really an idea, is it? More of a maybe.
DrCurry, Nov 19 2006

       I am adding an information link to make it maybe more concrete. To me the the diagram implies that the lubrication circuit could be isolated. My car's diesel has a water separator that works.
undata, Nov 19 2006

       I thought I heard the cartalk guys say that you really don't need to change the oil on new cars if they are running well.
bungston, Nov 20 2006

       Even if the oil remains clean, you will still have degradation of the lubricity. I wouln't trust someone to "feel" when the oil has lost its lubricating properties (let alone the other properties such as anti-corrosive, wear-reducing, detergent, etc). So for advice about running an engine without oil changes if it is "running well" I would be very wary.   

       I don't know about a hydrogen fuel cell that "can produce a lot of water". This is counterproductive. If your fuel cell is producing a lot of water, it is producing huge ammounts of power, ie for every unit of water you are producing, you are liberating a certain ammount of energy. Are you suggesting a HRSG (HEat recovery steam generator) or combined-cycle for increasing efficiency of hydrogen cells, or suggesting we intentionally reduce system efficiency, just to get away from changing oil?
Custardguts, Nov 20 2006

       Nope. Not "just to get away from changing oil." This is the central goal of the new engine. The reason it is neccessary to change the oil, it becomes polluted by combustion process, even if it were running in a clean room, with no dirt and no moisture. I was looking for an engine type in which the lubrication circuit could be isolated from the combustion process. The steam engine seemed to qualify.
undata, Nov 29 2006


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