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 Principle of the microscopic engine (Diagram: University of Stuttgart)

It sounds implausible, yet scientists have managed to create a functioning engine, analogous to a Stirling engine, just three micrometers wide and made of a single particle. The minuscule engine was created by Clemens Bechinger and Valentin Blickle at the University of Stuttgart, and though it has its quirks, the pair have apparently demonstrated the engine's ability to do work.  Read More

Patelo inserts a tiny piston into his miniature V12 engine

Anyone who appreciates the precision art of engine design ought to get a kick out of this offering from a Spanish engineer named Patelo. Starting with hunks of aluminum, bronze and stainless steel, he spent over 1200 hours designing, milling, turning and drilling what he claims is "probably" the world's smallest V12 engine. Powered by compressed air injection (0.1kg/sq cm), this little marvel boasts a total displacement of 12 cubic centimeters from its twelve 11.3 mm diameter pistons and works like a charm. Best of all, you can see it come together in the detailed video that follows.  Read More

The heart of the wave generator motor

The mid-term future for fuel efficient vehicles with useful range is likely a hybrid solution of electric motors powered by batteries, topped up by a fuel-burning generator. Prof. Norbert Müller at Michigan State, backed by $2.5 million from the US Government, aims to make that last part of the equation a much more compact and efficient proposition with a revolutionary new form of combustion engine.  Read More

The Lubricheck analyzes the capacitive and resistive properties of engine oil samples, to ...

Imagine if every time you bought a pair of socks, you automatically threw them out after six months, regardless of their condition. While you would certainly always have newer socks, you would also likely end up throwing away quite a few pairs that could have lasted a while longer. When it comes to changing the oil in our vehicles, most of us do take the “every X miles” approach, however, as there’s no easy way of telling if that oil really needs to be changed ... or is there? The designers of Lubricheck claim that their device will save money and minimize discarded oil, by analyzing samples of engine oil and letting drivers know if it’s still good.  Read More

Spark plugs could soon be replaced be laser igniters

Internal combustion engines are likely to remain in widespread use for some time yet, but it's possible that we may be bidding adieu to that most iconic of engine parts, the spark plug. Researchers from Japan's National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) are creating laser igniters that could one day replace spark plugs in automobile engines. Not only would these lasers allow for better performance and fuel economy, but cars using them would also create less harmful emissions.  Read More

Two newly-developed coatings could protect the jet engines of airliners from the harmful e...

Following last April’s historic eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland, commercial flights were cancelled within most of Europe for several days – it was the largest disruption of air travel since the Second World War. Well, while no one is suggesting that airliners could now merrily fly right through clouds of ash, researchers from Ohio State University (OSU) have developed a coating that they say could allow jet engines to better withstand small amounts of volcanic ash that are ingested over time.  Read More

CPT's auto exhaust gas energy recovery system

A lot of energy has traditionally been flushed down the exhaust pipe of the internal combustion engine and it's interesting to see that a number of companies, most notably BMW and Toyota until now, have been working on harvesting that power thanks to the imperatives of the energy crisis. Now Controlled Power Technologies (CPT), best known for its VTES electric supercharger, is working on exhaust gas energy recovery too. CPT estimates it will take five years to bring its research to market.  Read More

The G-Power M5 Hurricane RR

German tuning company G-Power is claiming to have set the record for the world’s fastest sedan with a BMW M5. G-Power’s M5 Hurricane RR achieved a top speed of 372 km/h (231 mph) beating its own record of 367.4 km/h (228 mph) set earlier this year. But it’s not just the two-ton vehicle’s top speed that’s impressive – it can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.35 seconds, up to 200 km/h in 9.5 seconds and up to 300 km/h in 25.8 seconds.  Read More

The 2011 Chevrolet Corvette

There are businesses that let you glaze your own pottery, cook your own steak or pick your own strawberries, but when it comes to the hands-on experience, a new offer from General Motors has them all beat. If you order a 2011 Corvette Z06 or ZR1, you have the option of traveling to GM's Performance Build Center in Wixom, Michigan, and hand-assembling your car’s LS7 or LS9 engine. It’s called the Corvette Engine Build Experience, and is believed to be the first program of its kind (if any readers would like to dispute that claim, please do so). If you don’t like the idea of providing GM with your mechanical expertise for no cost, don’t worry - you’ll have to pay an extra $US5,800 for the privilege.  Read More

Volkswagen's 1.4-liter TSI Twincharger

Volkswagen's 1.4-liter TSI Twincharger has taken out the International Engine of the Year Award for the second year running. The engine, which punches above its weight via the use of a combined turbocharger and supercharger, is only the third to take out the overall award in consecutive years (BMW in 05-06 with its 5-litre V10 and again in 07-08 with its 3-litre twin turbo). Other winners in the 2010 Awards included Fiat with its 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine (New Engine of the Year), Toyota with the 1.8-liter electric-motor-boosted hybrid from the Prius (Green Engine of the Year) and Mercedes-AMG with its 6.2-liter V8 engine (Best Performance Engine and Above 4-liter title). BMW also featured prominently picking up four gongs.  Read More

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