Method of reducing gryoscopic drag in automobile engines.
Remember the spinning "Tops" that we played with as children? The type that, if you set it spinning (perhaps a few hundred rpm) it would stand on it's end as if by magic? We were all amazed at our first demonstration of gryoscopic force.
Today, there is another form of gyroscope that plays a part in our lives- except this gyroscope can weigh 100 lbs and can spin at 3,000 rpm or more! Imagine what a powerful gyroscope that would be! What is this device? It is the flywheel/crankshaft assembly in the car that you drive. The same force that keeps motocycles from falling over also exists in the rapidly spinning parts in the internal combustion engine. The flywheel alone exerts tremendous stabilizing forces on our automobile when we try to turn left or right- wasting power and creating both heat and wear on the engine and the power steering system. This would not be a problem if automobiles only traveled in straight lines, but in realty, automibles must turn left and right constantly.
But what if automobile engines were installed in a different orientation? Say, with vertical crankshafts like they are in helicoptors? The resistance to turning left and right would be less, because the AXIS would not change. The loads on the powersteering system would be less, there would be less friction, and less heat and wear on the crankshaft and bearings. This type of savings has already proven itself in the form of smaller tires and light weight alloy wheels on modern fuel efficient cars. Less turning force needed to steer equals less wasted energy- and so it is also with the spinning part inside the engine.
Further advances could also be made on "hybrid" (gas/ electric) vehicles that do no have a direct connection between the engine and wheels. In the case of a vehicle that uses a small engine/generator to charge a battery, the entire engine could be gimbal mounted (just like gryoscopes)to "float", not only during turns, but also when the automoblie is moving up and down on inclines in the road surface. Engines installed in this manner would last much longer. Power, and fuel, would be saved.
This idea does not require development of any new technologies. Vertical shaft engines are already in use in many other types of vehicles (outboard marine engines are another example)It is the type of idea that only involves re-thinking previous methods that were employed when fuel and resources were plentiful. Gyroscopic drag was not a big concern when Henry Ford rolled out the first Model T.But small steps like these can lead us down different paths than before,re-thinking accepted methods is often a stepping stone to other advances in technology. I believe that considering (and reducing) gryscopic drag on automobile engines is one small step that we can take in the right direction. Any small savings multiplied by the number of vehicles on the road would be significant.
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