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'Shock Waves' To Power Cars of Future

Michigan State University associate professor Dr. Norbert Mueller is perfecting the design of a _"Wave Disk Enginer":http://arpa-e.energy.gov/ProgramsProjects/OtherProjects/VehicleTechnologies/WaveDiskEngine.aspx_, a system of propulsion generation...
March 17, 2011, 7:46pm

SONIC BOOM!

Michigan State University associate professor Dr. Norbert Mueller is perfecting the design of a Wave Disk Engine, a system of propulsion generation that replaces the car’s internal combustion engine, radiator/water pump, fuel/air control, transmission, and generator.

The end result is an engine that is 1,000 lbs lighter, emits 90-percent less carbon dioxide, and is 3.5 times more fuel efficient than your run of the mill combustion engine. And did I mention it runs on shock waves?

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At its heart is a rotor containing a number of radial channels (see diagram). As the rotor spins, the channels allow an air-fuel mixture to enter via central inlet ports. The mixture would escape through the outlet ports in the walls of the surrounding chamber, but by now the rotor has turned to a position where the channels are not pointing at the outlets.

CREDIT

:

New Scientist

The resulting sudden build-up of pressure in the chamber generates a shock wave that travels inwards, compressing the air-fuel mixture as it does so. Just before the wave reaches the central inlet ports, these too are shut off by the turning of the rotor. The compressed mixture is then ignited. By this time the rotor’s channels are pointing towards the outlet ports again, releasing the hot exhaust. As the gas escapes at high speed, it pushes against the blade-like ridges inside the rotor, keeping it spinning and generating electricity.

Mueller, who has received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for his Wave Disk Generator, currently has a small working prototype. He hopes to have a 25-kilowatt version ready by the end of this year.

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