Science: Energy: Fossil Fuel
Volcanic Vehicle Operation   (-1)  [vote for, against]

I've had this idea for some time now and if I become an engineer this may be an invention I will pursue.

Here's the pitch: vehicles will become clogged with volcanic ash in the event of a volcanic eruption. Not only this but other vital systems related to cars will be vulnerable to volcanic ash. The gears and greased areas of a vehicle will most likely become covered and jammed from ash mud. I suggest a kit which transforms a car into a vehicle which can operate in volcanic conditions. The engine may not use air from the outside because the filters and intakes taking this in would become clogged. Instead the car will be equipped with large pressurized air tanks which feed the engine. I do not know how much air would be needed.

The need for this arises from the uncontrollable, certain, and unstoppable eruption of a super volcano, especially here in the USA. I recently moved to somewhere out west very near to yellow stone.. The fact that yellow stone is due to erupt is scary one for me. I don't have nightmares about it though. I have night mares about getting into college and taking classes with teachers I come to find out I don't like.

Comments and Crits anyone?
-- EvilPickels, Jun 11 2008

Let's just think about this //how much air would be needed// problem.

Let's say your engine is a 2.0 liter four-stroke. (We don't care how many cylinders.) Further, let's say you'd like to run it at 3000 rpm. (Probably faster than that, really, and away...)

OK, the engine is going to take in air every other time around; and the displacement equals the quantity of air taken. Therefore, 2 liters * 1500 intake strokes per minute = 3000 liters per minute. That's uncompressed. If you keep your air at 150 psi (not unreasonable for use with an air compressor) it will be at about 10 times atmospheric pressure, thus you could run the vehicle for about a minute - or about a mile - from a 300 liter air tank. (That's an 80 gallon air tank - pretty big to be hauling around in anything with only a 2 liter engine.)
-- lurch, Jun 11 2008

As far as air is concerned, the best approach is probably a dual-path "self cleaning" filter system. There are two filter banks; while one is being used to feed the engine, the other is being shaken and reverse flushed to dislodge accumulated ash. Bulky, but systems like this do exist.

It will also be necessary to supply fitered air to the occupants of the vehicle.

Sealing the mechanical parts against the ingress of ash and mud is a challenge, but not insurmountable.

An aftermarket kit for a standard passenger car is probably not practical. 4x4's, already designed for wading and harsh conditions, would be a much better candidate. Military vehicles specified for desert conditions would have advantages too, particularly if consideration has been given to hardening them against biological and chemical agents.
-- 8th of 7, Jun 11 2008

Finding an open gas station under a hundred feet of ash is going to be your biggest problem.
-- ldischler, Jun 11 2008

random, halfbakery