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Old 12-17-2014, 04:51 PM   #21361
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Why the hell are we still making engine blocks out of metal in the 21st century?
Do you know of some other material that is cheaper and will hold up as long as the metal engine blocks? I am betting the ultimate reason is that there is no other cost affordable material that we could build them out of at this time.
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Old 12-17-2014, 05:14 PM   #21362
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Do you know of some other material that is cheaper and will hold up as long as the metal engine blocks? I am betting the ultimate reason is that there is no other cost affordable material that we could build them out of at this time.
We used to think that a lot of things had to be made out of metal, which are now made out of plastics or composite materials.

Just off the top of my head, I can think of:
  • Airplane wings
  • Intake manifolds
  • Money
  • PC enclosures
  • Bumpers
  • Boat hulls
  • Plumbing pipe
  • Tires
  • Siding for low-cost houses
  • Timing belts / chains
  • Fuel tanks
  • Body armor
  • Toothpaste tubes
  • Compressed gas cylinders
  • Hustler's mom's three-phase "personal massager"
  • Water pumps
  • Turbine shrouds in jet engines
  • Firearms


So, really, why haven't I heard a peep about anyone trying to reduce the weight and cost of an automobile engine block by manufacturing it from some sort of GRP-ish material, rather than the same **** that the Romans were making weapons out of in the 11th century BC?
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Old 12-17-2014, 05:25 PM   #21363
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It's to bad PTFE had a higher working temperature.

I think it's one of the greatest materials on the planet and it's not nearly used enough.
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Old 12-17-2014, 05:26 PM   #21364
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mechanic from the year 2050:
Well sir, you overheated your car and... well... your engine block and pistons are now a homogeneous blob of polymers.
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Old 12-17-2014, 05:48 PM   #21365
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Why the hell are we still making engine blocks out of metal in the 21st century?
Simple. Cost. If you can make it cheaper, you can bet your *** that they will buy it.

In automotive design, cost is everything. Weight is a fairly close second, but cost is by far the overriding design parameter. If GM saves pennies on a single part, it can translate to millions of dollars over the life of that part, which may be used in half a dozen different models over a dozen or more years. I once saved 19 cents a part for the covers that go over the child seat tethers on GM midsize cars. GM saved tons of cash, I got bupkis. It was one reason I left automotive design.

Caveat: figured into cost is reliability. If you make it cheaper, but one in 100,000 breaks, that translates into customer dissatisfaction and lost sales. I know engineers that have spent their whole careers figuring out cost/reliability formulas.
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Old 12-18-2014, 09:56 AM   #21366
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Originally Posted by rleete View Post
Simple. Cost. If you can make it cheaper, you can bet your *** that they will buy it.

In automotive design, cost is everything. Weight is a fairly close second, but cost is by far the overriding design parameter. If GM saves pennies on a single part, it can translate to millions of dollars over the life of that part, which may be used in half a dozen different models over a dozen or more years.
Disclaimer: while I did spend 14 years working in a design engineering capacity for an electronics manufacturer, value engineering was not a focus of mine.

That said, there would seem to be at least some design decisions made in which cost is subordinate to other factors such as safety, coolness, etc., particularly at the higher echelons of the automotive design landscape, which are not coincidentally from whence innovation seems to come.

For instance, I doubt that Koenigsegg choose to make its wheels out of carbon fibre because this was the lowest cost option.

Our that Mercedes decided to make ceramic brakes standard because they were cheaper.

Or why most Honda engine blocks these days are made of cast aluminum instead of iron.

Or why the 1990 Miata came with rear disc brakes in an era when drums were standard.


When considering forward-looking innovations in automotive technology, don't think about what makes sense for a Toyota Camry because it's the most cost-effective solution. Think about what Mercedes might put on the S-class for no other reason than because it's cutting-edge and sounds good in a full-page-ad in Baron's.

And, if history is any indication, that thing will become optional equipment on the Camry 5 years later, and standard equipment on the Taurus 5 years after that.
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Old 12-18-2014, 11:21 AM   #21367
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I suspect that every car manufacturer has been/is looking into better materials, but from a practical standpoint, the current metal technology is well known, easy to produce and reliable. Cooling and thermal dimensional changes are 2 potential problem areas that jump to mind.

If somebody made something else that worked, even if it were ultra expensive, I'm sure we'd have seen in either a race series or a foil-hat video about the basic dishonesty of the world's auto and energy industries.
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Old 12-18-2014, 12:16 PM   #21368
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Originally Posted by xturner View Post
I suspect that every car manufacturer has been/is looking into better materials,
I remember about 25-30 years ago hearing about some folks that were looking into sleeveless ceramic engine blocks, but of course there were some obvious problems inherent in trying to do that (ceramic material has less tensile strength than tofu, you have to use nuclear weapons to machine it, etc.)



Quote:
Originally Posted by xturner View Post
Cooling and thermal dimensional changes are 2 potential problem areas that jump to mind.
When aluminum heads began to be installed onto iron blocks in water-cooled 4 cylinder applications, there were many early problems along these exact lines. (Try finding a late 80s Pontiac Grand Am with the L-series "Quad 4" engine in a junk yard that still has its head attached. There are none.) But automakers figured out how to build this technology reliably, and today, aluminum heads on iron blocks are considered totally commonplace.



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Originally Posted by xturner View Post
If somebody made something else that worked, even if it were ultra expensive, I'm sure we'd have seen in either a race series or a foil-hat video about the basic dishonesty of the world's auto and energy industries.
And that's what bothers me. Here we have this obvious problem that needs solving (how to eliminate the huge, heavy chunk of iron sitting in the front of the car), and we haven't even heard of anyone making an outlandishly unsuccessful attempt to solve it.
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Old 12-18-2014, 12:58 PM   #21369
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And that's what bothers me. Here we have this obvious problem that needs solving (how to eliminate the huge, heavy chunk of iron sitting in the front of the car), and we haven't even heard of anyone making an outlandishly unsuccessful attempt to solve it.
It probably requires major-motor-company money to develop something reasonable, and they tend to be shy about trumpeting their developments before they're proven. Look at the GM 3-rotor wankel, the Ford/Yunick adiabatic engine, and assorted other "advances" that ended up as very public humiliations.

I would bet that there are exotic-material motors around, but they probably grenade before they leave the dyno, and nobody's ready to brag yet.
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Old 12-18-2014, 01:11 PM   #21370
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Motors aside; with the NORTH Koreans hacking and possibly attacking our grids, cannot access to the internet just be shut down for rogue states?

Must be that they have access via wires or satellites; can't that access be terminated?
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Old 12-18-2014, 01:14 PM   #21371
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It probably requires major-motor-company money to develop something reasonable, and they tend to be shy about trumpeting their developments before they're proven.
I'm not so certain about that.

I can think of numerous "Car of Tomorrow" advances in automotive technology which have been trumpeted in the mainstream technical media (think Popular Mechanics, Scientific American, etc) long before being viable commercial products. The airless tire (aka Tweel), driverless cars, automatic collision-avoidance systems, hydrogen fuel-cell technology, KERS...
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Old 12-18-2014, 01:27 PM   #21372
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Motors aside; with the NORTH Koreans hacking and possibly attacking our grids, cannot access to the internet just be shut down for rogue states?
Of course. It would simply require the cooperation of 100% of foreign nations with whom the target state is interconnected.

The principal supplier of internet connectivity in NK is Thailand-based Loxley Pacific, with additional connectivity provided by German satellite carriers and landline connection with China Netcom.

So all you'd need to do is convince the governments of those three countries to terminate NK's service.
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Old 12-18-2014, 01:55 PM   #21373
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The airless tire (aka Tweel)
would it renew your faith to know that I have seen one of these in person?

Polaris uses them.

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Old 12-18-2014, 01:56 PM   #21374
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they seem to use the airless concrete bricks too!
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Old 12-18-2014, 02:02 PM   #21375
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Of course. It would simply require the cooperation of 100% of foreign nations with whom the target state is interconnected.

The principal supplier of internet connectivity in NK is Thailand-based Loxley Pacific, with additional connectivity provided by German satellite carriers and landline connection with China Netcom.

So all you'd need to do is convince the governments of those three countries to terminate NK's service.
So how does a nation block access by its people to content they do not want them to see? Are firewalls set up at the providers?

Not being a smart ***; I have very little knowledge of how it works. We used to use tin cans and strings in my neighborhood to communicate with friends.
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Old 12-18-2014, 02:07 PM   #21376
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So how does a nation block access by its people to content they do not want them to see? Are firewalls set up at the providers?
Yes.

The distinction here is that said firewalls are erected on the client-side of the backbone connection (eg: by the government that wishes to restrict what its own people may access), whereas a blackout would need to be enforced on the host-side of the connected, as its unlikely that we could convince the folks in Pyongyang to voluntarily shut down their own internet connection.
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Old 12-18-2014, 05:44 PM   #21377
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Back to engine development:

https://autos.yahoo.com/news/worlds-...170021695.html
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Old 12-18-2014, 06:36 PM   #21378
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Complains about crankshaft weight.. makes a crankshaft thats 3 times as bulky and heavy as the standard part.
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Old 12-18-2014, 06:55 PM   #21379
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So, today was the company holiday meal. Texas BBQ, with pulled pork & chicken, beef brisket and all the typical sides. They also passed out the holiday gift, which this year was a zippered fleece jacket. Individually wrapped and everything.

To be a wise ***, I took a $100 bill I just happened to have in my wallet, and stuck it inside the package. I pretended to be surprised when I opened the wrapping paper. I sold it well enough to have a couple of guys notice, whereupon I showed the $100 plainly visible inside the clear protective cover.

Apparently, some of the more gullible people here bought it. I was told that a select few even got their panties in a bunch because of it. Particularly our "holier than thou" diamond machinists, who deserve to be brought down a peg or two.
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Old 12-18-2014, 07:14 PM   #21380
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^ Priceless.



Unrelated: my daily driver makes 4,250 HP and 63,000 ft/lbs. I'm pretty sure that puts me in the #2 spot behind SamNavy.
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