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Plastic combustion engines and why aren't they used

  1. Sep 29, 2011 #1
    The link is to an article that describes the history of plastic combustion engines! The reason they are not in your automobile is that those who are experts don't like the idea. There are incentives in the U.S. to make cars more fuel efficient by some 5 years from now but the plastic combustal engine was made practical in 1980 or so! Literally making cars far lighter and given that they were practical since 1980, if those that had the power to shift the pardigm did so, we would be 30 years ahead in the development of plastic combustable engines!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/25/automobiles/25PLASTIC.html?pagewanted=all


    We, the common people of the earth, need to wake up to what is happening. This technology has implications that stretch from common transportation to space travel! Why are we not benefiting from something that has been practical since 1980? Something that at least our government spending in new tech and R&D should have explored.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 29, 2011 #2
    Re: Its Old Tech, so why isn't being used?

    Your question is basically answered in the article:

     
  4. Sep 29, 2011 #3
    Re: Its Old Tech, so why isn't being used?

    My point being is since they are risk adverse and considering companies like GM and Chrysler that have been bailed out because of the inability to adpat and exploit new technology, why has my tax dollars gone to such lost causes as maintaining bad ideas? Shouldn't this plastic technology be pursued rather than bail out these companies? Wouldn't society be better off by funding the development of a proven technology than funding poorly run companies that just don't get it?
     
  5. Sep 29, 2011 #4
    Re: Its Old Tech, so why isn't being used?

    The plastic engines are only proven in the sense that "proof of concept" has been achieved. They aren't at all vetted in practical terms and that is what makes the car companies skittish. They want someone else to solve all the potential problems.
     
  6. Sep 29, 2011 #5
    Re: Its Old Tech, so why isn't being used?

    Agreed, but the question still stands why should the U.S. tax payer bailout badly run companies instead of developing a potential technology that can revolutionize an industry?
     
  7. Sep 29, 2011 #6
    Re: Its Old Tech, so why isn't being used?

    Are you seriously asking why your tax dollars are being used to support major contributors to political campaigns?
     
  8. Sep 30, 2011 #7
    Re: Its Old Tech, so why isn't being used?

    By that implication then what good is a democracy when its being controlled and exploited by groups whose objectives aren't about what's good for society? What good is it to vote?
    Once politicians are in office there is little to nothing those that voted for them can do about preventing against abusing the system.
     
  9. Sep 30, 2011 #8

    Ryan_m_b

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    Re: Its Old Tech, so why isn't being used?

    Vinni don't take this the wrong way but you're taking a very Amerocentric view on this (and other) topic. There are many other countries in the world and many other companies. If this technology was so old yet brilliant why do you think that it hasn't taken off somewhere?
     
  10. Sep 30, 2011 #9
    Re: Its Old Tech, so why isn't being used?


    That is democracy. Its a tradition dating back to the first Athenian democracy where every person's vote was for sale. The American people voted for a system that allowed the wealthy, corporations, and special interest groups to influence their political system. At any time the American people can vote to change that system but, instead, they appear to prefer just complaining whenever it costs them money.

    And, of course, insisting anyone who doesn't vote shouldn't have the right to complain...
     
  11. Sep 30, 2011 #10
    Re: Its Old Tech, so why isn't being used?

    For the same reasons that it didn't take off in the U.S. However the technology was developed in the U.S. and tested in high performance environments. The automotive industry in general tends to use gimicky ad campaigns that try to sell a life style or status symbol. So it would appear those companies are just as risk adverse as U.S. companies and stick to tried and tested business models to sell cars.
     
  12. Sep 30, 2011 #11

    Ryan_m_b

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    I realise that this is a post in GD but PF rules still apply. Claims must be backed up by evidence. Handwaving legitimate questions or statements away with a vague personal opinion is not good enough.

    Why don't you look into what research has taken place worldwide over this technology, what the problems with implementation are and what, if anything, is being done about it rather than posting one article before repeatably stating your opinion.
     
  13. Sep 30, 2011 #12
    Re: Its Old Tech, so why isn't being used?

    And exactly how would the American people make that change that would prevent the abuses that are infact illegal?

    What politicians do is rationalize a legal basis that allows them, through the law, to favor big business. But if they said outright they're going to favor big business it would be against the law!

    Socialism doesn't work, capitalist unregulated and regulated economies don't work, what's left? A social cultural attitude adjustment? Something like the renaissance of the middle ages, only favoring small to mid size businesses by implementing ant-trust laws to keep markets open and competitive?
     
  14. Sep 30, 2011 #13

    russ_watters

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    Re: Its Old Tech, so why isn't being used?

    Even in a bailout, the government's ability to dictate terms to the car companies is not absolute. The US is still capitalist.

    Also, I love how the article compares composites used in the Dreamliner to a plastic car engine....as if the Dreamliner has plastic jet engines. :rolleyes:
     
  15. Sep 30, 2011 #14
    Re: Its Old Tech, so why isn't being used?

    It does so in a comparison to the stresses of its wings traveling at 600 mph. It doesn't make any innuendo that the Dreamliner is using plastic jet engines. But then again is it possible to make plastic jet engines? After all plastic internal combustion engines were used in high performance race cars.
     
  16. Sep 30, 2011 #15

    AlephZero

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    Re: Its Old Tech, so why isn't being used?

    And they don't mention the fact that the Dreamliner project is 3 years late and goodness knows how much over budget. Sure, Boeing have finally managed to deliver one aircraft to a customer, but it's not at all clear if they can ramp up the production lines to match the size of the order book.
     
  17. Sep 30, 2011 #16

    AlephZero

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    Re: Its Old Tech, so why isn't being used?

    Given the fairly loose definition of "plastic" that seems to be used here, then many parts of jet engines are made of "plastic" already. But car engines don't operate at anywhere near the temperatures and pressures in a jet engine core. Compare a water-cooled car engine using coolant at say 90C, with an air-cooled jet engine using "cooling air" at more like 900C for example.
     
  18. Sep 30, 2011 #17
    Re: Its Old Tech, so why isn't being used?

    Out of interest what 'plastic' did they use to make these engines?
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  19. Sep 30, 2011 #18
    Re: Its Old Tech, so why isn't being used?

    The state of Maryland outlawed voting for Mickey Mouse when he came close to winning, but there is certainly no law forcing anyone to vote for people taking large campaign contributions from anyone. That's neither socialism or capitalism, just a fact of life.
     
  20. Sep 30, 2011 #19

    Ryan_m_b

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    Re: Its Old Tech, so why isn't being used?

    I believe it's called Torlon.
     
  21. Sep 30, 2011 #20
    Re: Its Old Tech, so why isn't being used?

    They are colossally expensive aren't they? I know PEEK and polyimides are. No wonder they've not been adopted.
     
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