Designing an Air-Powered Car: Seeking Advice

In summary, the group needs to design and build a small model car that runs on air, using a weak dustbuster motor. Weight is a crucial issue when designing such vehicles, and the group is looking for advice on how to set up a ducted fan to increase airflow.
  • #1
hey guys!

i need your oppinion and advice/suggestions on somthing.

My group for university has to design and build a small model car within the dimensions (300x300x700) mm
that runs on air, using a dustbuster motor. i don't have the model name but we can assume the motor we're dealing with is quite weak.
Now, there can't be any mechanical connection with the motor and the axle of the car- since we need to harness airflow.
weight plays a crucial issue when designing such vehicles..air power is a relatively weak force. We can't use any explosives or dangerous materials.

any words of advice would be great!
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  • #2
Are you restricted to also using the fan that comes with that motor? In any event, I'd be looking at a ducted fan to start with.
  • #3
I wouldn't think a dustbuster fan would be all that well suited for propulsion (high pressure, low flow). If you could get (or construct) a fan curve, that would be helpful, but you'll likely find that your pressure drop will be virtually nonexistant regardless of your duct size, so your airflow will be whatever the max that fan can produce is.

The reason airplanes and air boats use propellers is they are better at producing higher airflow and no static pressure than centrifugal fans, which are better at producing pressure, but not as good at producing airflow.
  • #4
yeh, we have to use the dustbuster motor, which is designed for optimal sucking.
How do you think we should set up a ducted fan?
  • #5
I don't have a Dustbuster right handy to disassemble, so I'm not sure what the internals are like. Maybe start by just reversing the polarity of the motor and see if you can feel any significant airflow coming out of the suction nozzle.
There's also the possibility of over-driving the motor for extra power (ie: higher than standard voltage), but I'd consult one of our electrical guys like Berkeman before trying that.
  • #6
yeh makes sense. I am just wondering, if the airflow we can work with is enough to actually rotate a duct fan, or propeller that is connected to an axle to move the model foward.

1. How does an air-powered car work?

An air-powered car uses compressed air as its primary source of fuel. The compressed air is stored in a tank and is released to power the engine, which then propels the car forward. This process is similar to how a traditional gasoline-powered car uses explosions in the engine to power the car.

2. What are the benefits of an air-powered car?

One of the main benefits of an air-powered car is its environmental impact. It produces zero emissions, making it a more eco-friendly alternative to traditional gasoline-powered cars. It also has lower operating costs as compressed air is cheaper than gasoline. Additionally, it is quieter and requires less maintenance as it has fewer moving parts.

3. What are the limitations of an air-powered car?

One limitation of an air-powered car is its range. The compressed air tanks can only hold a certain amount of air, which limits how far the car can travel before needing to be refilled. Another limitation is the lack of infrastructure for refilling compressed air. Currently, there are not many places where you can refill an air-powered car, making it less convenient for long-distance travel.

4. How can the efficiency of an air-powered car be improved?

One way to improve the efficiency of an air-powered car is by using regenerative braking. This technology captures the energy produced during braking and uses it to compress the air in the tank. Additionally, using lightweight materials for the car's body and engine can also improve its efficiency. Designing a more aerodynamic car can also help reduce air resistance and increase its efficiency.

5. What are the potential future developments of air-powered cars?

There is ongoing research and development in the field of air-powered cars. Some potential future developments include increasing the range of the car by using more efficient air compression methods, developing a more widespread infrastructure for refilling compressed air, and exploring the use of renewable energy sources to power the compressor. Additionally, advancements in battery technology may also allow for the use of hybrid air-electric cars, providing even more efficient and eco-friendly options for transportation.

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