Thursday, October 25, 2007

Green Thursday TGIT – Thank Geeks It’s Thursday

A TT subscriber Mark McBride is the owner and host of a website called OmniNerd. Mark will post each TT to the site and that way nerds, geeks, or just plain thermodynamicists will be able to enjoy thermo Thursday.

I had promised an analysis of the Toyota Prius versus a Corolla but an Omninerd beet me to the punch with a very good analysis of the Prius I was going to blog about a person who carpools and whether a Corolla is then better than a Prius. My belief is that it is obviously better to own a Corolla and carpool than own a Prius and not carpool. The effective fuel economy on a Corolla with two people alternating their driving is higher than the one person in a Prius. The cost of ownership of a Corolla is lower, and the added benefit of lessening the amount of cars on the road for all other motorists is also considerable. I once opined that more than 2 billion gallons of gasoline are wasted in traffic jams in the USA in addition to the more than 4 billion hours of wasted time of the motorists stuck in traffic. If we had 2/3 of the cars filled with 2 people instead of 1 person we would eliminate 1/3 of the vehicles from the road and this would free up traffic flow considerably. My crystal ball says we would better than halve the wasted time and gasoline eaten up by traffic jams. On this basis over 1 billion gallons of gasoline would be saved by not sitting in traffic. On top of this if we had one third fewer cars on the road (about 70 million vehicles) each not using 2 gallons a day for the five work days a week this carpooling effort would directly save 35 billion gallons of gasoline a year. On this basis oil prices would drop back to $2 a gallon and America would be saved. I carpool and us Carpooligans are the Paul Reveres of the 21st century.

Our science department has noticed some interesting research into nano diamonds. These diamonds are simply carbon crystals that that of the order of a nanometer in diameter. These diamonds can deliver chemotherapy to their target DeBeers is investigation the pharmacokinetics data to find out if a nano diamond is forever

Mayor Dilly Dally of Chicago who should have read a TT from over six months ago has woken up and acted to limit bottled water in the windy city with a tax on the plastic bottle He must have called his friend Gavel Newsome for some advice and finally this distant relative of Richard the Third has brought down the gavel on Dasiai Dasani has responded with an add campaign title make our mouth water. But Dilly Dally has an ace up his sleeve and will respond with his magnum 38 saying maybe your mouth will water, but I can make you breath through your skin

All this talk of violence makes me shake. There is a new breed of chips that can generate electricity by capturing or harvesting energy from light, vibrations or even temperature difference.;jsessionid=TYSMWQLQJVLMGQSNDLOSKH0CJUNN2JVN?articleID=202400930 I think we will be able to power wrist watches (quartz drive) from body heat. We also may be able to power an Ipod from walking.

The appendix may have a useful purpose after all as a reservoir of beneficial bacteria to aid digestion. Kind of like natural yogurt

It is kind of scary that Craig Venter is about to unleash a new form of life in the form a genetically modified bacterium,2933,299857,00.html I kind of prefer the inhabitants of my appendix over the bacteria being synthesized in Rockville MD, even if Venter claims they will chew up global warming gases

The word of the day is stentorian. As this blog is rated G for TGIT I will not make a play on words about stentorian gases but these load voices could provide the vibrations to power the new breed of energy harvesting chips

stentorian \sten-TOR-ee-uhn\, adjective:Extremely loud.
Around his family, Sergeant Charles Mingus Sr. was easily angered and often violent and closemouthed the rest of the time, except when he gave orders in a stentorian voice that carried the assumption of command.-- Gene Santoro,
Myself When I Am Real
He broke the tradition of stentorian tenors, whose big voices and melodramatic high notes were needed to fill the concert halls and vaudeville houses.-- Richard Corliss, "The Book on Bing Crosby", Time, May 17, 2001
Then a stentorian voice blared an all-points bulletin: "Calling the G-men! Calling all Americans to war on the underworld!"-- Strobe Talbott, "Resisting the Gangbusters Option",
Time, October 15, 1990
The bearded, often curmudgeonly Knoller can be found in the press filing center on most every presidential trip, his stentorian voice booming out 35-second takes for radio -- as many as 20 a day -- and shaping the day's news for dozens of journalists who can't help but hear him.-- Dana Milbank, "Bush by the Numbers, as Told by a Diligent Scorekeeper",
Washington Post, September 3, 2002
Stentorian comes from Stentor, a Greek herald in the Trojan War. According to Homer's Iliad, his voice was as loud as that of fifty men combined.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mass and Grams

TGIT – Thank Grams It’s Thursday Today we will discuss mass and grams are a unit of measure of mass

First a thank you to Ajay for his blog on how Brother Gibb had an oldie disco hit song titled “How deep is your love of thermo”

The EPA has reported the mileage cars sold in 2007 can expect.

Interestingly the average mass of vehicles sold in the USA has increased significantly since 1987 from 3,221 pounds to 4,144 pounds or 1,873,088 grams. The average horsepower of a vehicle has almost doubled since 1987 from 118 to 223 horsepower. The heaviest horse in history had a mass of 3,360 pounds or about the mass of the average vehicle sold in the USA in 1987. The acceleration of the average vehicle measured in the time taken to get from zero to sixty MPH has decreased from 13.1 seconds to 9.6 seconds in the past twenty years. The fuel economy of the average vehicle has decreased from 22.0 mpg to 20.2 mpg because of the change in mass, horsepower and the proliferation of trucks (SUVs included) from only 28% of vehicles sold in 1987 to 49% of the vehicles to be sold in 2007.

Going back further than Brother Gibb to Brother Newton and his second law of motion we all know that the force that is needed to be applied to an object to yield a set acceleration is directly proportional to the mass ( F=MA ). In accelerating cars from zero to sixty there are some other forces (resistance) to be overcome such as wind resistance and rolling resistance but for the moment will simply deal with old Isaac’s second law. The mass of the vehicles has increased in the past twenty years by 29%. Acceleration increased by 36% so accounting for increased mass and increased acceleration one would have expected the required force from the engine to have increased by 75% which is in line with the added horsepower in the 2007 models. So how did we only get a 8% reduction in fuel efficiency? This can be answered by the improved efficiency of the later model engines. Primarily as a result of fuel injection, multi valve engines, and variable valve timing that were not available back in the old days. These improvements all relate to how the fuel is burned in the engine.

Below is a cut out of a fuel injector

Below is a cut out of Honda’s variable valve timing engine

Going forward we will have higher compression engines, direct fuel injection and of course smaller and lighter vehicles. We can thank the Governator for the proliferation of SUVs as his movie Kindergarten Cop started the Hummer rage My prediction is that within a decade the average mass of a vehicle will drop to value we had in 1987 and the average fuel efficiency will be close to 30 mpg. Also within a decade we will have long forgotten Arnie.

Here is some good news from Michigan and it is not about the heavy metal vehicles they produce there. The city of Ann Arbor will convert 1,400 street lights to LEDs,4670,TechBitCityapossBrightIdea,00.html Raleigh and Toronto have also begun to use LEDs. Maybe Hollywood will be next.

All this talk about weapons of mass combustion brings me to my final point of the week. Raytheon a defense contractor has developed a heat ray weapon;jsessionid=UASDYV2WZ3VAOQSNDLSCKHA?articleID=202400400

This is the ultimate terrible misuse of thermo! Imagine the government spent $40 million to develop a ray gun that heats the top 1/64” of your skin to 130 degrees F. This goes beyond tasers and will be marketed as the Blaser.

The word of the day is abscond. If a cop was pointing the heat ray gun at me I would certainly abscond

Word of the DayThursday October 18, 2007
Today's Word
Yesterday's Word Previous Words Subscribe for Free Help
abscond \ab-SKOND\, intransitive verb:To depart secretly; to steal away and hide oneself -- used especially of persons who withdraw to avoid arrest or prosecution.
The criminal is not concerned with influencing or affecting public opinion: he simply wants to abscond with his money or accomplish his mercenary task in the quickest and easiest way possible so that he may reap his reward and enjoy the fruits of his labours.-- Bruce Hoffman,
Inside Terrorism
Pearl, now an orphan (her father having absconded shortly after her conception), has been taken to live with her great-aunt Margaret in the north of England.-- Zoe Heller, Everything You Know
Abscond comes from Latin abscondere, "to conceal," from ab-, abs-, "away" + condere, "to put, to place."

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Space Exploration

TGIT - Thank Gagarin It’s Thursday

Yes we have to thank the Reds (not Cincinnati) for today’s episode of TT. It is exactly 50 years ago today that space exploration began. The USSR launched Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957.,2933,298728,00.html This 180 pound payload sat atop a R7 Rocket. Sputnik did nothing except send some radio noise back to earth

For the non baby boomers who never looked at the sky in October 1957 to view the flight path of Sputnik, Gagarin was the first person to go into space Gagarin was selected because of his small stature. He was only 5 foot 2 inches tall.

Actually the object that was visible in the night sky that Hunting for Red October was not Sputnik (it was simply too small) but was the second stage of the rocket that launched Sputnik.


How much fuel was used to place the little noise maker in orbit? The Russian website lists the specification of 253 metric tons of propellant. The propellant was kerosene the same fuel used by jets. A pound of kerosene has a fuel value of approximately 19,000 BTUs. Therefore approximately 10.5 billion BTUS were needed to set the space race in motion. This amount of energy is equivalent to 92,000 gallons of gasoline or enough gasoline for the average US motorist to drive for over 125 years.

We continue the space race and have launched many more satellites that now clutter the near space around earth. But Sputnik was the first and that is why we remember it.

Talking about space and time, we have a report on how much time commuters waste in traffic. Los Angeles leads the US in wasting time in traffic jams with each motorist wasting 72 hours each year. San Francisco is not far behind. Gagarin only spent one hour and 48 minutes in space so we all should get the medal of the soviet empire for the long time we spend cooped up in our capsules. In total we Americans spend 4.2 billion hours a year stuck in traffic wasting 2.9 billion gallons of gasoline crawling bumper to bumper. This amount of wasted gasoline could have launched over 31,500 sputniks. I therefore suggest a solution to this waste of time, money and precious BTUs. Let’s carpool! If we halve the number of vehicles on the road in rush hour we will not waste 3 days a year stuck on the freeways in the city of angels. Next week I will discuss how it is better for the earth and your pocketbook to buy a Corolla and carpool than buying a Prius and driving on your own to work.

The word of the day is redoubtable. I do believe that the accomplishment of Yuri Gagarin remains redoubtable.

redoubtable \rih-DOW-tuh-buhl\, adjective:1. Arousing fear or alarm; formidable.2. Illustrious; eminent; worthy of respect or honor.
He had been particularly involved in and articulate over policy toward East Asia, stressing the threat from China after the Communists won power there in 1949, and had made dramatic impressions of competence and coolness on two occasions -- under the physical threat of a crowd in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1958, and in a dramatic kitchen debate in the Soviet Union in 1959 with the redoubtable Nikita Khrushchev.-- William Bundy,
A Tangled Web
The prospect was daunting, not least because Evelyn was still a redoubtable figure on campus whom I saw almost every day and to whom I went for advice almost as regularly.-- Keith Stewart Thomson, The Common But Less Frequent Loon and Other Essays
At the head of the table, as committee chair, sat the redoubtable Howard Mumford Jones—a teacher famed even at Harvard for his fierce authority, his wide-ranging erudition, and his intolerant exacting preciseness.-- Nicholas Delbanco, The Lost Suitcase
Redoubtable derives from Old French redouter, "to dread," from Medieval Latin redubitare, "to fear," literally "to doubt back at," from Latin re- + dubitare, "to doubt."