Tag Archives: engines

I talked last week about increasing fuel economy standards in the US and how our engine designs have been improving incrementally to meet this new demand. It was almost a year ago that I talked about the military’s affection for diesel in a wide variety of platforms. Well now it seems like the flexibility of diesel and the American consumer’s desire for better fuel efficiency is meeting somewhere in the middle. When Americans think about diesel they might have an image in their heads of 1970s diesel cars puffing black smoke everywhere or a smelly large truck. Diesel is extremely popular in Europe but their environmental and safety standards are different which prevented direct injection (ha!) of European diesel cars in to the US (like the direct injection of the Bosch common rail injector in the photo). Still the advantages in fuel economy with the models we’ve been seeing so…

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The internal combustion engine has been around for several hundred years and been used successfully in industry and commercial applications for more than one hundred years. When we think about cutting edge technology we tend not to think about things that have been around that long. And in fact, most of the design of the engines we use today have not changed substantially in decades. But that doesn’t mean the small changes we are working towards don’t have dramatic effects. (Photo via creative commons from Ranj Niere) The auto industry has voluntarily agreed to meet new fuel efficiency standards of 55 mpg fleet average by 2025. Yes you can reread that, they voluntarily agreed. So why? Don’t more stringent fuel efficiency standards make car design and manufacturing more expensive? Yes and no. Yes it make it more expensive, but manufacturers know that demands for better gas mileage from consumers will…

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What is it that keeps us awake at night? A new study from the German Aerospace Center on sleep patterns showed that unpredictable noises are the most disturbing to our sleep patterns. Noises like an airplane taking off have a more gradual rise and fall in sound despite lasting longer than the passing of a car. And yet in sleep surveys, people report aircraft noise as disturbing their sleep. The study’s authors speculated this was because a typical sleep cycle lasts 20 minutes and so airplane noise was most likely to be remembered. However what they actually found was car and rail noise interrupted normal sleep patterns. It’s no surprise people would complain about aircraft noise, it’s  a constant nuisance for people who live near military airfields and commercial airports. A lot of work goes into reducing the noise airplanes make. When new airports are built or existing ones are…

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