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. http://www.epa.gov/otaq/cert/mpg/fetrends/420s07001.pdf
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. http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/22809 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 http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr161/lect/history/newton3laws.html 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. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_injection http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-valve http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variable_valve_timing
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 http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0422-02.htm 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 http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2007Oct17/0,4670,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 http://www.eetimes.com/news/semi/showArticle.jhtml;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
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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."