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Vertical Engine

Engine orientation reduces engine wear and saves gas
  (+8, -5)
(+8, -5)
  [vote for,

The normal car engine has the crankshaft parallel to the ground. The flywheel is perpendicular to the crankshaft and depending on the configuration the torque vector is either inline with the automobile or inline with the front axel. This means forces producing large torque must be applied to the flywheel every time the auto turns a corner. If you’ll remember your jr. high science trying to turn a flywheel out of it’s plane of rotation takes energy and large forces. If the engine of a car is arranged so that the axis of rotation is vertical, and there can be any number of new designs that would suffice, the plane of rotation for the flywheel would be parallel to the ground. With the rotation parallel to the ground the engine/flywheel/transmission couplings would not see the large scale out of axis torque, plus there would be no waste of angular momentum, such as happens now each time the car turns, thus saving gas.
Ozone, Apr 14 2008

Perfect Engine for Automotive X PRIZE Perfect_20Engine_20...omotive_20X_20PRIZE
A revolutionary vertical rotary engine. [rotary, Apr 14 2008]

Vertical Crankshaft Motorcycle Vertical-crankshaft_20motorcycle
[Ned_Ludd, Apr 14 2008]

Gyro-stabilized Unicycle - that won't work. Gyrostabilized_20Unicycle
[MisterQED, Apr 16 2008]

Gyroball Exerciser http://www.sharperi.../product/sku__DF298
[MisterQED, Apr 16 2008]

Double Wheel gyroscope video http://lecturedemo....ble-Wheel-Gyroscope
Again credit to [baconbrain] for finding original link. [MisterQED, Apr 16 2008]

Discussion of Processions effect on automobiles http://everything2....opic%2520precession
[jhomrighaus, Apr 16 2008]


       Nice, [Ozone]! You reinforced the advantages inherent in my rotary engine design which is best placed upright, as illustrated in my Flickr album. I have even pointed it out in my blog in Blogger regarding gas turbines that have huge gyroscopic effects, limiting the maneuverability of vehicles. See the link regarding the discussions of my rotary engine here in halfbakery.com and the other links posted in that page.
rotary, Apr 14 2008

       Even if this was an issue, which I doubt it is, you could solve it with a second counter rotation flywheel way easier than turning the engine vertically. The reason it isn't a problem is that the RPMs just aren't high enough and cars don't rotate all that much.   

       [rotary] Give it up, spend your time fixing the design.
MisterQED, Apr 14 2008

       [MisterQED], I have no habit of imposing strict compliance, much more, not recommending an alternative to an idea that captures the need. If that would be my nature, I would not have voted positively for this idea, but instead try commenting right away that this idea is hilarious as if assuming that [Ozone] definitively mean that the present bulky, longitudinal reciprocating engine be placed “VERTICALLY” with no consideration of any other alternative. I am best positioned as an Engineer, not a Critic.   

       Anyway, considering that [MisterQED] assumes that my engine is not appropriate to work hand in hand with this idea of [Ozone] but prefers a complicated approach of having a “counter rotation flywheel” for a present day reliable reciprocating engine and abandon a vertically mounted engine, he has a point and would probably vote against this idea; his solution for a counter rotation flywheel is really the best option “assuming” [Ozone] definitely do not consider any alternative but only the ordinary piston engine. So, I also acknowledge [MisterQED] idea.   

       [MisterQED] would like me to fix my idea for he assumed that my designs have very, very close tolerances, have very, very sharp edges, among others, therefore assuming the design is very impractical. Well, I have said that my engine is ceramic. I would like to point out that those all-ceramic engines in 1990’s have no (ceramic) piston rings but instead made a piston with tight tolerances yet made the engine run without significant blow-by gases and no piston seizure/slap whatsoever and thrived well in unlubricated, uncooled environment. Some groups have even developed ceramics that won’t expand or contract by merely mixing proportionately two or more ceramics that would behave differently under normal operating temperatures in combustion chamber surfaces (some ceramics rearrange their molecular structure into a more orderly and tighter formation that would considerably offset more the expansion due to heat). Mind you, the only reason the all-ceramic piston engine never got production is the excessively high cost—ten times the ordinary metallic engine—which my compact rotary engine has reduced dramatically. So, my rotary engine is a good alternative so I may not vote against [Ozone] idea, as how [MisterQED] is inclined to.
rotary, Apr 14 2008

       I also doubt if gyroscopic effects are an issue at all, but this might have packaging advantages, so [+]. I've had a similar idea concerning motorcycles [link]   

       [rotary], I would very much like to hear about your *next* idea!
Ned_Ludd, Apr 14 2008

       //the all-ceramic piston engine never got production is the excessively high cost—ten times the ordinary metallic engine—which my compact rotary engine has reduced dramatically//
Really [rotary]? You have figures and data to prove this?

What [Ned_Ludd] said.
coprocephalous, Apr 14 2008

       I think this horisontal flywheel will have problems as soon as the car goes up or down a slope/hill or over a bump...and a car typically takes longer to climb a hill than it takes to take a turn.
Hovsada, Apr 14 2008

       You would have a problem with torque trying to rotate the car, which is a problem in some cars with horizontal crankshaft inline with the direction of travel. You could of course solve this with twin counter-rotating flywheels.
marklar, Apr 14 2008

       [rotary] - bad form, hijacking someone else's idea to trumpet about your own. If it isn't getting any play, live with that.   

       [Ozone] - I like the space efficiency possibilities afforded by a vertical engine - a flat-four like my Subie would take up even less space if it was stood up on its tail.   

       Can the rear main seal stand up to constant immersion, or are you looking at something more along the lines of a dry sump? I know a lot of Subies tend to mark their territory, and so do VW boxers, so maybe it's more of a defining characteristic of flat engines.   

       Or - and this is a little wiggy - seal the back end entirely and drive everything of the front AKA top end. The rear is simply sealed off and is the new sump.   

       This could make for a very, very short engine compartment. I like that part.
elhigh, Apr 14 2008

       I am not sure that all of you have grasped the idea. Most have, but trying to fix the problems I am concerned about by replacing one flywheel by two of them tells me that you have missed the point completely. While it is true that twin props rotating in opposite directs effectively cancels the torque that tries to cause a single engine aircraft to roll, or spin in the case of a helicopter, opposite torque is completely unnecessary for that purpose in an auto. It is not the action of the torque on the auto that is a problem. The ground is more than capable of preventing the auto from spinning in the opposite direction. (If you watch dragsters revving up you can see the forces at work) Anyway, dual flywheels would only add to the problem, not to mention add a few more of their own. It is the wear and tear on the bearings and associated engine parts that the vertical engine would eliminate. Without the need to withstand that torque, the associated parts could possibly be made less massive saving even more weight and gas.
Ozone, Apr 14 2008

       //you could solve it with a second counter rotation flywheel way easier than turning the engine vertically.// I just spotted [Ozone]'s annotation just above. I was about to say something similar - two flywheels counter-rotating in the same plane will be no easier to turn than one larger flywheel. I wasn't sure if I had my physics straight, but it seems I do.   

       Also, [hovsada] misses the point: if the car is climbing a hill at a fairly constant angle, the gyroscopic forces are irrelevant - they only come into play when the car tilts upward or downward at the beginning or crest of the hill.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 14 2008

       [MaxwellBuchana] I had also planned on mentioning the the fact that going up a hill was of no concern, but decided against it as I thought my post was already long enough. Thanks for your help and thumbs up for being on your toes.
Ozone, Apr 14 2008

       The problem I see is that the power that you use to enact this change in momentum does not come from the engine but comes from the tires interacting with the ground in a turn. Considering the inertia of the car is already huge by comparison to the relatively tiny flywheels(most cars the flywheel is less than 1 foot 6 inches across) inertia. Heck the forces encountered by the wheels are significantly higher.   

       I would argue that the benefits gained with the flywheel being horizontal will be radically offset by the decrease in the aerodynamic efficiency as the engine, stacked with the Transmission will stick up on the order of 3 or more feet meaning a higher cowl for a larger front cross section. Further you will need to transition the rotational forces back to the right plane thus adding even more losses to the system. The insidious part is that the losses you add are constant drains compared to a tiny drain that only applies in limited situations.
jhomrighaus, Apr 14 2008

       The transmission losses of meshing perpendicular gearing at flywheel speeds would eliminate any gains seen with this idea.
RayfordSteele, Apr 14 2008

       // hijacking someone else's idea to trumpet about your own. // [Elhigh], have you noticed the flagrant errors of [jhomighaus]? // decrease in the aerodynamic efficiency as the engine, stacked with the Transmission will stick up on the order of 3 or more feet meaning a higher cowl for a larger front cross section. //   

       [jhomighaus] never acknowledge the compact design of my engine, so he erroneously commented on the idea of [Ozone]. He should have reviewed what [Ozone] posted: // and there can be any number of new designs that would suffice // So, you are right [Elhigh], I have the opportunity to do that specifically because of that which [Ozone] posted.   

       But I have aces up my sleeve than that, [Elhigh]. Have they mentioned of the benefits of that configuration to the stability on cornering and bumps? Not yet. I already indicated that in my blog regarding stability in contrast to practical longitudinal position of all gas turbines ([Ned_Ludd], you should not worry having that configuration in your motorcycle layout, for it would help in stabilizing your motorcycle—but you need a newly trained race driver). So, I am really for vertical placement due to the gyroscopic effect brought about by the fast rotation of my rotary engine.   

       BTW, [Elhigh], //a flat-four like my Subie would take up even less space if it was stood up on its tail. // is a bad configuration ([jhomrighaus] intended his comment specifically to your layout). Read what [RayfordSteele] has commented. Do you mean you would place meshing gears in your flywheel, or just stacked the transmission to the flywheel as its clutch? Please clarify.
rotary, Apr 14 2008

       [rotary] I (and I'm pretty sure a few others) am getting mightily off-pissed at your constant self-promotion. It is tedious, it is unsupported.
Kindly put up or shut up.
Preferably the latter.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Apr 14 2008

       [AbsintheWithoutLeave], it is easy for you to say that because you have no heart of an inventor. (Crabby you… strapped with crappy brags much like the grabs of crabs?) :-)
rotary, Apr 14 2008

       The vertical engine is an interesting way to save on wear and tear, but what happens if you combine both ideas presented here, and have a vertical engine with counter-rotating *horizontal* flywheels?   

       If one flywheel is geared to the drive wheel(s) on the left side, and the other drive wheel is geared to the drive wheel(s) on the right side, and the right (fixed) gear ratio is chosen, then turning the car would produce no net change in angular momentum.   

       This wouldn't necessarily be so useful on a normal driving surface, but I can see it being useful when hydroplaning or on ice.
PhaseShifter, Apr 14 2008

       You know me. All I want is some paragraph breaks.
normzone, Apr 14 2008

       Oh, [normzone]... and about "discriminating superlative processes" too.
rotary, Apr 14 2008

       It is nice to see that at least I have people thinking and talking. Nothing bad can come from that!
Ozone, Apr 15 2008

       [Ozone] My original response was a bit terse and you have my appologies, but it was accurate. The flywheel is usually only a couple of pounds and only spins at engine RPM. For a standard inline configuraion, turning the car causes a slight torque that attempts to raise or lower the nose of the car slightly depending on the direction of engine rotation. This force is counteracted by suspension members that are several feet away, so even if the torque was 100 ft. lbs., which it isn't, that would only add 20 lbs of pressure 5 feet way, which can actually be quartered so it would add 5 lbs. of verticle force to each wheel of a car with a 10' wheelbase. I have obviously used easy but inaccurate base numbers here, but I hope you get the point of the force you are trying to fix.   

       Now your solution is to place the motor vertically and that creates some problems, so let me lay them out and see if your solution is better or worse than the problem.   

       1. Sealing: as mentioned sealing would be an issue if there are any exposed rotating members. Present seals only stop splash oil and would need to be upgraded if you had any outputs on the bottom of the engine. This can be solved by putting all the outputs at the top, but that brings us to the second issue. 2. Center of Gravity (CG) To improve cornering CG should be kept as low as possible. Going vertically with a normally heavy part like an engine would raise the CG. The tranmission has to be attached to the motor and in this case also be located higher than it normally would and then it needs to be connected back down to the axle. 3. 90 degree turns: many longitudinal motor/transmission packages have no outputs at one end, such as the VW 4 cylinder. They could be turned on end with little redesign, such as added thrust bearing to support the crank, but you would be adding back in one of the things they specifically took out, a 90 degree turn. Bevel gears are expensive and fragile compared to other gears. Verticle engines only make sense if their layouts would lead to a lower CG such as installing a piston rotary in a car, but even then transmission and drive arrangement is more challenging. In my example of the VW motor, the CG would be raised because the bottom of engines are much heavier than tops (steel cranks vs. aluminum heads) and the trans will always be higher.
MisterQED, Apr 15 2008

       My comment was directed at the idea in general. If you were to orient the crankshaft vertically then you would need to have 90 degree gearing, like a differential setup, in order to direct the torque to the wheels. This is generally an inefficient thing to do in a geartrain.   

       Furthermore, the bending forces seen by the crankshaft just during its operation are higher than the rotational inertia as experienced by the crankshaft bearings due to any redirection of the flywheel as the car moves around corners, and so the bearings need to be sized appropriately for to handle them. Therefore, no gain.
RayfordSteele, Apr 15 2008

       are we forgetting the wheels here? Looks to me like they represent a larger moment of inertia than the flywheel and engage in larger changes in vector. (as an anno to my anno i would like to add that {rotary} is showing the very large gaps in reasoning that even a fine education can leave. Real world experience has no substitute.)
WcW, Apr 15 2008

       [Ozone], I would like to highlight what you have posted just to make it clear that no one here have the right to be too “narrow-minded”. You have posted in the description of your idea this:   

       // If the engine of a car is arranged so that the axis of rotation is vertical, AND THERE CAN BE ANY NUMBER OF NEW DESIGNS THAT WOULD SUFFICE, the plane of rotation for the flywheel would be parallel to the ground. // (All caps supplied for emphasis)   

       Today’s innovations blast most of these conventional minds here in Halfbakery; I believe your idea is a step ahead, anticipating for one that the redline of ordinary engines may somehow increased approaching the performance of racecars, and looking for better alternatives that would render the vertical configuration essential to the performance of the vehicle—which I believe so would captivate my mind for other hidden fortuitous upshots to exploit into.   

       Considering other individuals prefer to stay on their comfort zone, I would like to appropriately direct your attention to the long-forgotten but somehow revived engine concept of the most trustworthy inventor the world had: the Bladeless Boundary Disk Turbine and Pump of Nikola Tesla. As Phoenix Turbine Builders Club are attempting to place their fast-spinning new prime mover to an ordinary car, the resulting practicality of your concept of a vertical engine would finally end these nonsense computation of these renowned mathematicians and engineers here in Halfbakery trying to rationalize how they come out to be so negative. (Methinks they could be utterly obliged by a medieval king to devotedly compute how many pterosaurs can be packed up to a spaceship as big as Challenger.)   

       Oh, I almost forgot. [MisterQED], please study about gyroscopes. You are missing the finer points of the idea (& even those obvious crankshafts and connecting rods). (How about you, [WcW], are you missing it too? I think some 5th graders obsessed with toy tops are smarter in this regard.)
rotary, Apr 16 2008

       [rotary] What are you babling about now? Did you just read about the Tesla Turbine and wanted to gloat to me about it? Please see my idea for a miniature generator. It is genius of course, but it has limited application.   

       Are you saying that my statements about the moments caused by the gyroscopic effects are wrong? Well which one? Teach me, oh learned one.   

       You think you are the grand inventor and we are just being negative? Well then show me an invention that can work! That is what everyone here is waiting for. I think you can do it or I wouldn't waste my time reponding to your posts. As for me, I am talking to a patent agent to get my second patent and I am presently working on my third.   

       Oh and read my WHOLE posts. Ceramics are not a magic wand that can cure all with only money holding us back. If they were cost-no-object racing teams would make everything out of it. Ceramics are like everything else, they have their advantages and disadvantages. If you would tell me which ceramic you are thinking of we could discuss more, but the general drawback is brittleness. That is why everyone is working on ceramic coatings instead of whole ceramic parts. And yes, Kyocera and Honda make ceramic pistons, but I bet there are more Ti pistons out there than ceramics. Even if ceramics solved your heat issue, it doesn't solve your motion issue. You cannot have super tight tolerances because you have an irregular motion in you rotor. You cannot have adaptive seals because you have corners.   

       Get to work, I for one want a flying car and am pissed as hell the Army hasn't fixed the flying jeep design.
MisterQED, Apr 16 2008

       Hail [rotary] !! -Inventor, Innovator, Mechanical Design Engineer. Ideas on Halfbakery - one.
xenzag, Apr 16 2008

       [Ozone] One more important point: energy is not lost when turning a gyroscope as you mention in your post. It really can't be. Aside from mass conversion, energy cannot be created or destroyed. So where I agree that there is a force that opposes rotating a gyro off it's axis, so energy is going somewhere, it can't be lost. Is it friction? Well, yes, a little but that part is usually small. The energy put into turning the gyro off axis goes into spinning the gyro faster. What this means in your example, the energy lost in turning attempts to turn the engine faster, so no energy is lost. When I am on a real computer I will post a self-depricating link to one of my other ideas for a gyrostabilized unicycle. You needn't follow it because I will tell you the idea doesn't work and now I know why. I mention it because it covers the second part of my first anno. A second counter rotating gyro completely cancels out the gyro effect of a single gyro. So as the video link that killed the idea shows, if you did have appreciable gyro effect from the fly wheel of a car, you could place a second one that counter rotated creating the exact opposite angular momentum would cancel out any gyro effect created. So if you had a car that needed a big flywheel or that in in of itself acted as a big flywheel and you were worried that is would keep a car from turning, you could place a second counter rotating flywheel on the same axis to cancel it out. I explained the modifications you need to place an engine vertically, so here is the parts list for the counter rotating flywheel, it is short, a plantary gear set an some side thrust bearings for the ring gear. Take the planetary gear set, put it right behind the flywheel on the same axis, fix the planets so they don't orbit and the ring gear is your second gyro. If you don't want to add a lot of weight, remember that part of a flywheels job is to act as a flywheel to smooth out engine pulses, so any weight added to the second flywheel can be taken off the first. Want to add even less weight? Gear the planetary so the ring is much faster than the first flywheel, then it can be lighter, because we just need to match the rotational inertia of the first, so faster can be lighter.   

       Don't believe me about the energy transfer of the gyro? I understand. Since I wrote the unicycle idea, it has bothered me that I didn't understand why it won't work. This morning I remembered a gyroball workout toy they sell at Sharper Image. I'll try to find a link. The gyroball is a gyro placed inside a ball that you hold in your hand. It comes with a string or other things that you use for the startup spin. Once the gyro is spinning you twist your hand against the gyros axis for exercise, when you do that the gyro accellerates. In a few minutes the gyro can be singing with speed. The energy put in can't be lost it is just converted.
MisterQED, Apr 16 2008

       Oh, here are they again. So much so that I can say that some are skeptics, they are easily pissed off, bragging into assumption that they know all and don’t ask question first but comment negatively right away, showing off their achievements too—of which I am really impressed.   

       [MisterQED], I am not here to argue without sense. For good sake, look at those fancy toy tops that are perfectly balanced both in aerodynamics and inertia regardless if they have unsymmetrical and irregular shapes (they are computer-modeled nowadays without undergoing standard prototyping). What I mean for you to focus on is not the moments that you erroneously want to impress that I commented upon (read my comments first and ask; don’t judge right away).   

       Do not focus on the flywheel only, man: look at everything that are rotating as a whole and consider those masses as equivalent to one big flywheel. (There are crankshafts, camshafts, gears, bearings, chains or belts, masses attached to cranks, propeller shafts, etc.) You should know that, considering you are majoring in Physics. Do not say about suspension systems “5 feet away” when the focus of the resulting torques is on engine wear, especially on the bearings of which fulcra are much nearer.   

       Hail to [xenzag]! 500 posts! (Dear, please create a big controversy of your own… for you are already here since 2005.)
rotary, Apr 16 2008

       [MisterQED] I'm pretty sure that 2 counter-rotating gyros on the same axis would not cancel eachother out.
marklar, Apr 16 2008

       [marklar] I completely understand, I was with you. The idea I posted was based on that idea, but the video is conclusive and sadly the conclusion is that we are wrong. The credit goes to [baconbrain] for finding the video which you can see by follwoing the link to my erroneous idea for a gyrostabilized unicycle and then to the last link to the video that killed the idea or follow the link that I posted here.
MisterQED, Apr 16 2008

       If I would quickly assume that [MisterQED] do not mean that the two counter-rotating gyros have the same center of gravity, I would agree with [marklar]. Please, [MisterQED], clarify where is the fulcrum you mean {that should be fixated in one point somewhere in the centerline if the two CG are separate} that would cancel perfectly the gyroscopic effects. If you assume it is somewhere in the middle of two separate CGs of the gyros, then, I would conclude you are damn very wrong. Get your physics right.   

       BTW, if they have the same CG, they should have the same momentum (and the fulcrum can be anywhere, or is not existing). If they have separate CGs, their momentum cannot be equal to perfectly cancel out the net gyroscopic effect.
rotary, Apr 16 2008

       //create a big controversy of your own// [rotary] actually I'd rather respond to your over inflated ego. Why don't you let some air out, float back down to earth, and join the rest of us lowly mortals. Plenty of room on the humble bench.
xenzag, Apr 16 2008

       [MisterQED] Unless I am mistaken, energy is lost when you turn a gyroscope. You have circular motion with angular momentum. When the gyroscope is rotated away from its plane of rotation the angular momentum is lost and must be reestablished, once the new position has been assumed, by the angular velocity. Therefore moving the gyroscope will require more force (to over come the angular momentum) and the loss in angular moment um is taken from the angular velocity.   

       Also, everyone seems to be eluding to the negligble amount of angular momentum in a flywheel, but what about the crankshaft? I have had the unpleasant chore of moving engine blocks, both with crank and without, and there is indeed a hell of a difference.
MikeD, Apr 16 2008

       [Ozone], I'm pretty sure you'll notice that most of the folks here are irritatingly on their toes - I used to think I was pretty darned smart until I started posting here.   

       I used to imagine a flywheel-powered car with the flywheel casing mounted rigidly and the wheel turning parallel to the road. Everything's fine until you approach a hill...   

       But hey, it corners flat too.   

       [Rotary], you may want to broaden your horizons a tad. Driving everything off the front of the engine, as I said, doesn't require that it be bolted to and in line with the front of the engine, as you assumed. Go read up on the Olds Toronado, or just peer under the hood of any front-drive car with an east-west engine layout. I was thinking along the lines of a stout chain to drive a transaxle. Chains are highly efficient and plenty strong. As for the right-angle drive into the axle, well - they've been doing it on Camaros and Mustangs for the last thousand years, I reckon the auto boys have got that as lossless as they can make it. Apples, applesauce.
elhigh, Apr 17 2008

       [MikeD] To answer your second question first, the reason I only mentioned the flywheel was not to discount the other rotating parts, but to simplify the discussion by calling the entire system a flywheel. I was then going to say the flywheel has the highest rotating inertia due to having the largest radius but on further thought that isn't true. On modern engines multi-cylinder engines the crank probably has the most rotational inertia, probably followed by the dynamic balancer (if there is one) and then the flywheel. The order switches if you have less cylinders. Single cylinder engines need heavier flywheels.   

       To answer your first question, energy is never lost. It get converted but is never lost. So really the only question is where the applied energy is going. Some will go into friction in the bearings, but where is the rest going?   

       To make this a little more intuitive, I'll try a thought experiment and tell me if I screw up. Imagine just a part of the flywheel orbiting the axis. It has a specific weight and is going a specific speed based on its distance from the axis and the speed of rotation. Now I force the axis to turn slightly which causes our part to not only orbit the axis but also travel vertically slighly. These two velocities add up to a higher velocity. That part is still part of the original flywheel, so when the part speeds up the flywheel speeds up.
MisterQED, Apr 17 2008

       //I'll try a thought experiment and tell me if I screw up.//[QED], where you are going wrong in this thought experiment is all found in the term 'relative'. I could start adding in the movement of the Earth, Solar system and eveything else to get a value that says the flywheel is in fact flying, but that would be meaningless. You must keep your mind on target, and your coordinate system in mind. Any meaningful coordinate system (at least for that type of thought experiment) must be attached to the auto.
Ozone, Apr 18 2008

       [elhigh] It wouldn't be worth my time if posters here were not on their toes. A suggestion, I don't know all of the details of your flywheel powered auto, but go through the numbers again without mounting it rigidly.   

       Now for my next idea. You'ld find it in the medical section if there was one. Stethoscopes! Where should I post about stethoscopes?? I should have it ready for posting Sat. Morning. Good luck finding it.
Ozone, Apr 18 2008

       [Mr.QED] Ok, after some much needed sleep and playing with a gyroscope to make sure I knew what the hell I was talking about ...   

       In a traditionally mounted engine, the rotational inertia of the rotating assembly is lost everytime you round a corner. It is not technically "lost" but is added to the tangential inertia of the automobile, which is also "lost" in a friction vs. normal force opposition in the tires.   

       To visualise this, imagine a gyroscope whose "flywheel" is spinning about the y axis (in the x,z plane). The extra oomph you have to exert to rotate the gyro about either the x or z axis is the equal force that opposes the "lost" rotational enertia.   

       Now imagine a vehicle that is rounding a corner, just barely too fast. The threshold by which the tangential inertia overcomes the frictional forces of the tires is such that without the added rotational inertia of the flywheel et al, the tires would have kept thier grip.   

       If you can visualise this, then you are visualising the gains by verticle mounting of an engine.
MikeD, Apr 18 2008

       It is enlightening to know that there are at least two (voters) at the moment that are against a vertical engine layout. (Or, they are maybe the proponents of fuel cells or the likes which have no significant rotating mass.) I am enlightened right away too how some race drivers made those awesome and spectacular multiple-rollover crashes for everyone's delight.
rotary, Apr 18 2008

       [mikeD] your example is not correct, the forces are experienced up and down, not to the side, the force applied tangentially to the direction for travel are experienced 90 degrees from the forces acting on it. In a normally mounted engine the force experienced in a turn act upwards when turning one way and down wards when turning the other.   

       So i your example the force does not act to increase the tangential vector to the point that the friction vector of the tires is overcome, rather the force vector from the flywheel is upwards, thus reducing the effective friction vector, if the vector falls below the Centripetal force acting on the car a spin will occur, this will however only happen in a right hand turn, in a left hand turn the effective friction is increased and the car is theoretically able to negotiate the turn at a higher rate of speed.   

       In a vertical engine layout these forces will still be experienced, in this case as the car rolls as it turns the force s will act forward or backward on the car, the forces on the engine bearings will be the same. It is even possible that there will be greater losses as every time the car tilts from side to side(ie due to banking of the road) these forces will be encountered. In a normal engine road banking does not change the axis of rotation. It appears that changing the orientation would simply change the duration and frequency of the forces but would not eliminate them.   

       I just realized that this could contribute to why most high speed race tracks turn to the left. The progression effect from the gyroscopic forces would act to push the cars down into the track surface. If the track turned to the right the force would be pushing upwards.
jhomrighaus, Apr 18 2008

       [jhomrighaus] Having problems with your contention. Let’s do a comparison to something we have all (most of us anyway) experienced. Leaning right on a bike tilts the wheel to the right, causing an out of plane rotation of the wheels. This rotation causes a side force that acts perpendicular to the plane of rotation, pushing/turning the bike to the right. You are correct that the resultant force does in fact act at a 90 degree angel from the axis of the out of plane rotation, but it is directed along the axis of the wheel’s main rotation. Normal to the original plane of rotation, not within the original plane of rotation. If y'all have been good little engineers you have all drawn a forces and moments diagram as you read this. Turning that forces and moments diagram 90 degrees to line up with the normal placement of a flywheel, you will plainly see that the resulting force would not act up or down, but rather forwards or backwards.
Ozone, Apr 18 2008

       Sorry, [Ozone], that bike business isn't right. Bike wheels have little or no gyro effect. A bike carves a turn just like a Razor scooter, a skateboard or a snowboard. It's an old misconception, and only a few folks have heard of the attempt to build an unrideable bike--they stuck in a counter-rotating extra wheel, and didn't affect the bike at all.   

       As for the idea, I'm saying the same thing. There isn't enough gyro effect to worry about. Besides, a vertical-axis engine would cause problems going up and down hills, which happens for me more often than turning corners.
baconbrain, Apr 18 2008

       Oh, did someone mean a vertical engine robs them of the excitement and suspense of a very rough ride going up and down hills or potholes (because it is just too smooth and eases up the main suspensions to stay level a little longer)?
rotary, Apr 19 2008

       [rotary] you are an idiot. no one said anything of the sort. Go rabble rouse someplace else. Either contribute to the discussion or go away.
jhomrighaus, Apr 19 2008

       [jhomrighaus], do you mean you don’t appreciate too the benefit of a gyroscopic effect of a vertical engine? (shhhh, read what [bb] said. hmmmm)
rotary, Apr 19 2008

       [jhomrighaus], I understand your pent-up feelings. For trying to expound what you are trying to convey you flung your rant on me. Let me help you, friend. (BTW, that previous message you are irritated with is pointing to someone else, not the paranoid you.)   

       I love flying crafts, and so are most of us. Let’s take a WW1 fighter plane with a Gnome rotary engine. Because it's big and spins rapidly, the engine behaves like a gyroscope. This makes it subject to the effects of "gyroscopic precession". When a force acts on a gyroscope, the gyroscope behaves as if the force were applied at a point 90 degrees to the direction of rotation. If your plane's propeller turns clockwise (viewed from cockpit), then when the tail comes up on the take-off run the nose goes down - and the gyroscopic precession makes the plane swerve to the left. In other words, if you want to swerve the plane to the left, the tail has to come up and the nose goes down relative to the pilot. (a little tail lift, a big-time tail 3 o'clock swerve)   

       Let’s translates this to the normal car with a longitudinal engine w/ similar rotation: when the driver swerve to the left, the car will pitch backwards. (a little tail 3 o'clock swerve, a big-time tail downward push)-But the car has no propeller to swerve it upward, friend.   

       What [Ozone] is trying to say about forwards and backwards is the pitching of the car. If you, [jhomrighaus], would read again your previous wordings about right turn, it looks like as if you are talking about the weird science of antigravity with force pushing upwards. You forgot to mention the pivot point relative to the driver, who is also the appropriate observer, not the bystanders. That pivot point is normally the center of gravity.
rotary, Apr 19 2008

       There is nothing wrong with my wording [rotary] the net effect on race car circling a track would be to push more force down into the track than when turning in the opposite direction. My response above was in response to the conjecture that the flywheel imparted a tangential vector to a turning car(which it does not do).   

       For sake of simplicity I described the force generically as up or down and left out the rotation factor(which just complicates the example as you begin to experience a leverage effect based on the distance from the rotating mass and the rear wheels).   

       My comment directed at you was to state that your comments are not constructive and do not lend anything substantive to the conversation. This is not the only discussion in which you have made such comments and I grow tired of them.
jhomrighaus, Apr 19 2008

       This is my careful suggestion: don’t try to defend your errors so that you don’t act like an idiot even more. You better ponder at your recent statements:   

       // nothing wrong with my wording // - // and left out the rotation factor // (be thorough for the sake of mutual understanding)   

       // your comments are not constructive // - // you are an idiot // (a mitigating statement in a form of a question is constructive enough)   

       // do not lend anything substantive // - // no one said anything of the sort // (someone may not said something explicitly but someone there mean something implicitly that only idiot cannot understand)
rotary, Apr 19 2008

       OK [rotary] you are a genius and the rest of us are all stupid. Your point is clear.
jhomrighaus, Apr 19 2008

       [rotary], please keep in mind that English is not your first language, and entertain the possibility that you may have misunderstood what someone wrote. And recall, if you can, that you are of the religious persuasion, which causes you to make up your own meanings for what you read, stick to your misunderstandings no matter what, and sneer at the rest of the world for being less good than you.   

       My earlier reference to going up and down hills had nothing to do with roughness of ride on the hill. It meant that a car with a vertical-axis engine is going to suffer from the (trivial) gyro effects as it pitches up or down. Where I live, there are many more short, steep hills than there are street corners, so a vertical-axis engine would do me no good at all, even if it did any good to city slickers.   

       Oh, and [rotary] you have misunderstood what I mean by the preceding paragraphs. I appreciate your participation, and your enthusiasm, but I dislike your actions.
baconbrain, Apr 19 2008

       Oh, this is a scientific deliberation, so no amount of ego preservation could thwart the validity of the technical investigation presented.   

       // a vertical-axis engine would cause problems going up and down hills // is successfully contended implicitly with // vertical engine… eases up the main suspensions to stay level a little longer //. Live with it. Do you want a thorough deliberation regarding the gyroscopic benefit of a vertical flywheel from me when it is thoroughly exhausted already in technical papers and scientific journals? No need. Hope you study further about gyroscopes before making explicit assumptions in a forum that is unforgiving to blunders in technical matters.
rotary, Apr 19 2008

       //Oh, this is a scientific deliberation, so no amount of ego preservation could thwart the validity of the technical investigation presented// Oh yea?- I thought it was the Halfbakery, when all along it's been a Scientific American Blog. Meanwhile, delivery, debate and persuasiveness are as much a part of the scientific community as they are of any other.   

       There are no "exacts" even in numbers, and those who think there are, are either part of the Newtonian tradition, or religious zealots. Kurt Gödel, amongst many others, waits to support my assertion.
xenzag, Apr 19 2008

       [xenzag] I must differ with you. There are exacts! For example, 1 = 0.999... is true. 1.0 is exactly 0.999... repeating, and if you do not believe and understand that, you do not understand the nature of numbers, the infinite, and the reality of absolute truth. Don’t let your own feelings guide you. Only the truth can set you free. Intuition is so very often wrong.   

       Oh, by the way, there are a number of proofs that 1 = 0.999... If you need help wrapping your mind around the truth of it, think about this. While this is not a formal proof, what is the decimal of one third? But there is that little bit of 1.0 missing at the end of 0.999... you say? What end? There is no end! It is infinite! That is why it is so easy to see that it is exact. At least if you understand the infinite.
Ozone, Apr 20 2008

       For [BaconBrain] and others that keep bringing up the angular change of the autos induced by inclines. Only when the axis of rotation of the flywheel is normal to the plane of pitch will the torque be zero.   


       Sorry, I’ll try again. Given an orthogonal set of axis {x,y,z} with the x axis going out the front, the z up, and the y axis out the left hand door. (That’s the driver’s side in a Buick, passenger side in an MG) That puts pitch in the x-z plane, roll is in y-z plane and yaw is in x-y plane. Today we find engines that are both in line with the y-axis or x-axis. A few years ago almost all were parallel to the x-axis. Only those that currently have the axis parallel to the y-axis have the plane of rotation set to eliminate torque due to pitch. But does that help at all?   

       Now consider the magnitude of the angular changes seen by an auto. Pitch and row are usually measured in single digits. The roll seen by a car in a fast turn can be every bit as large and larger than the pitch seen from a hill. Yaw on the other hand is usually much larger. City streets are set up almost exclusively with 90-degree turns. And let’s be honest here, a 90 degree roll or pitch and you also need a tow truck. If your only problem with a vertically oriented engine is that you will have to manage hills, then what is your real problem?   

       p.s. A big thanks to everyone. I'm really having fun here!
Ozone, Apr 20 2008

       My problem is that this is a pointless discussion about solving a non-problem. I just tossed in the fact that I live where there are more hills than corners to illustrate that it is a non-problem.   

       If it were a problem, it would have been solved years ago, and if this idea were the solution, it would have been picked up, Shirley. I mean, cars are researched all to hell by HUGE corporations, and modified by garage boys of all persuasions. It's hard to find something new to do.   

       But engines are getting higher-rev every year, and drifting is getting popular, so this non-problem may get to be a problem and this idea MIGHT serve to jog someones thinking. Maybe.   

       The very closest that I have ever seen to a gyro torque problem was when a friend decided he liked dynamic takeoffs in his Piper Tri-Pacer airplane. He'd taxi to the end of the runway, firewall the throttle, stomp one brake, and pivot 180 with the engine wound out, and instantly go into his take-off roll. It was his strip, and his airplane, but we thought it was a bad idea to make snap turns with the prop at full RPM. He said he'd never noticed anything funny, but we finally convinced him his old plane wasn't designed for that. Anyhow, that situation was the worst possible torque/turn scenario I can imagine, and nothing bad happened.
baconbrain, Apr 20 2008

       I agree. If the gyroscopic issues were really serious then we would see this reflected in F1 cars and other extreme applications. Mass of wheels and, aw hell pa, the mass of the whole damn car is at least one exponent greater the force involved in fighting the gyroscopic forces on the engine itself.
WcW, Apr 20 2008

       If you want a vertical engine to reduce precession then just install it with hydraulic arms, controlled via a gyroscope such that it *stays* vertical even on inclines. Most cars don't do complete loops or rolls (at least not more than once) so you've solved that issue.   

       But congratulations, now thanks to good old Newton, rev or slow the engine and the car will try to turn right or left.   

       [baconbrain] in a normal takeoff run in a taildragger, when you lift the tail, the aircraft tries to turn left.   

       Stop posting on this thread and look at my "Internal Combustion Steam Engine" before it disappears.
FlyingToaster, Apr 20 2008

       I think [WcW], which somehow means (Wide) WHEELS (cute) cab (Wacky) WHEELS, probably refers to a world champion driver of a Monster Truck Challenge. I am in no way a David to you for you have the // Real world experience has no substitute. // advantage. Happy precession for your coming crash anyways! I'm just happily laid-back here watching Wacky Sports - pretty amused how precession came into play in spectacular race disasters.
rotary, Apr 20 2008

       Random, very random. Reminds me of a Japanese character in a comedy sketch but I forget which one.
marklar, Apr 20 2008


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