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Simple Device Claimed To Boost Fuel Efficiency By Up To 20%

Soulskill posted about 6 years ago | from the innovation-is-a-real-gas dept.

Transportation 674

Ponca City, We love you writes "Temple University physics professor Rongjia Tao has developed a simple device that could dramatically improve fuel efficiency in automobiles by as much as 20 percent. The device, attached to the fuel line of a car's engine near the fuel injector, creates an electric field that thins fuel, reducing its viscosity so that smaller droplets are injected into the engine. Because combustion starts at the droplet surface, smaller droplets lead to cleaner and more efficient combustion. Six months of road testing in a diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz automobile showed an increase from 32 miles per gallon to 38 mpg, a 20 percent boost, and a 12-15 percent gain in city driving. 'We expect the device will have wide applications on all types of internal combustion engines, present ones and future ones,' Tao wrote in the study published in Energy & Fuels. 'This discovery promises to significantly improve fuel efficiency in all types of internal combustion engine powered vehicles and at the same time will have far-reaching effects in reducing pollution of our environment,' says Larry F. Lemanski, Senior Vice President for Research and Strategic Initiatives at Temple."

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This is... (3, Insightful)

KGIII (973947) | about 6 years ago | (#25175885)

Snakeoil as has been evidenced with piles of other products that claim to do the same thing.

Re:This is... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25175993)

"Slashdot: Fake News for Idiots, selected by Moronic so-called-Editors"

FFS. This is (a) clearly bollocks (b) these "devices you attach to the fuel line" have been around being sold by con-artists for at least TEN YEARS. Actually, it must be longer as I remember them from when I was AT SCHOOL!

I'm afraid that whoever put THIS rubbish up is clearly an Epsilon Minus semi-moron.

*sigh*

Re:This is... (5, Funny)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | about 6 years ago | (#25176043)

these "devices you attach to the fuel line" have been around being sold by con-artists for at least TEN YEARS

TFA says he's getting a patent. The US patent office wouldn't be so clueless as to issue a patent if there were prior art, now would it? ;o)

Re:This is... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25176119)

This is a lame article. I'm off to play a game of Punchnigger.

Re:This is... (1)

amirulbahr (1216502) | about 6 years ago | (#25176233)

You mean its not just software patents that suck?

Re:This is... (3, Funny)

Screaming Cactus (1230848) | about 6 years ago | (#25176157)

Didn't Mythbusters bust this one last year?

Blind testing needed (4, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | about 6 years ago | (#25176099)

Half the problem with these magic devices is that people with these fitted will drive more conservatively etc - measuring people changes the way they behave.

Half the reason my new fuel efficient car gets better mileage is because it has a fuel efficiency measurement and I try to improve it. Result: I drive differently than I do in the other car.

The only way to see if these devices really work is to see if they improve efficiency when the people don't know they are there.

Re:Blind testing needed (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25176163)

Or they could oh I don't know, attach the wheel of the car to some kind of sensitive machine which would measure the power output of the engine under controlled and reproducible load, I think I will call this device a dynamometer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamometer

RTFA before you call something snake oil, the tests were done with laboratory measurements not with human drivers.

Re:Blind testing needed (4, Informative)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 6 years ago | (#25176239)

The proper blind testing of course would be to install it in say ten cars, seven or eight where it actually works, and the other ones an identically looking device that is simply not functional.

Then either choose ten identical cars (as identical as possible), or first follow the drivers for say a month or two and record their fuel use without the device, and after that for some period of time with the device (or the placebo) installed, and check the differences.

It sounds bull to me that you can so easily change the viscosity of an apolar fluid with electricity. Most of the molecules in gasoline are nonpolar, and not even polarisable, so I doubt an electrical field has much influence if any at all on such a liquid.

Re:This is... (4, Informative)

darc (532156) | about 6 years ago | (#25176197)

Yes, except this one has a paper published, and lab tests on the fuel injector mist as well as a dynanometer and other tests.

http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/sample.cgi/enfuem/asap/abs/ef8004898.html [acs.org]

Seems like you threw the baby out with the bathwater.

Re:This is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25176299)

There is nothing dumber than someone that says something is impossible.

A real scientist hears about something like this and says, "Wow, that's awesome! Now show me the proof."
Not, "That's impossible, you suck, I was too stupid to figure it out, I hate your freedom!"

until we measure in Miles per drop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25175889)

Until we measure in kilometers per milliliter, it's just a drop in the bucket.

and will only cost... (-1, Offtopic)

MrKaos (858439) | about 6 years ago | (#25175891)

your first born child to install.

Typical slashdot vaporware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25175899)

Instead of investing in "science" solutions (99.99% of all science research goes absolutely nowhere) why not implement an easy solution - drill for our oil offshore and in Alaska, and prevent us sending billions to countries which don't like us very much.

Re:Typical slashdot vaporware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25175967)

That is a long term option, it won't do anything for fuel prices for several decades minimum.

Re:Typical slashdot vaporware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25176003)

But it will put a lot of people to work, with good paying jobs. Illegals need not apply, you can't get the government required credentials to work in that field.

Re:Typical slashdot vaporware (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | about 6 years ago | (#25176017)

Long term option? Not at all. The oil in Alaska and offshore doesn't last forever. It is a mid term solution at best.

Re:Typical slashdot vaporware (5, Funny)

wfberg (24378) | about 6 years ago | (#25176077)

Long term option? Not at all. The oil in Alaska and offshore doesn't last forever. It is a mid term solution at best.

Snakes on the other hand can simply be bred, making snakeoil a renewable and CO2 neutral resource.

Next stop, infomercial and/or MLM (1, Insightful)

istartedi (132515) | about 6 years ago | (#25175903)

Sorry. This sounds way too much like "the tornado" and various other devices with magnets that you put around the fuel line. This stuff has been around for years, and it's pseudo-science. With pressure to meet CAFE standards, don't you think Detroit would have deployed such tech years ago if it really worked? Cue the Detroit-BigOil-AxisOfEvil conspiracy theorists in 3... 2... 1...

Re:Next stop, infomercial and/or MLM (1)

WTF Chuck (1369665) | about 6 years ago | (#25176011)

But it worked in their six months of road testing. Just because they failed to mention that they drove a bit slower, and did less stop and go city driving doesn't mean anything.

Re:Next stop, infomercial and/or MLM (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25176033)

No you idiot, the car companies threatened to kill them if htye sold it when the last people came up with this inventionn! Magnets do some INCREDIBLE things with science and people's energy fields. But I don't care what you think; I know the truth! Ever since I started wearing my magnet wrist watch I haven't needed birth control!

So there, suck on that--ha HA!

Re:Next stop, infomercial and/or MLM (5, Informative)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 6 years ago | (#25176049)

>With pressure to meet CAFE standards, don't you think Detroit would have deployed such tech years ago if it really worked?

You know, in the late 80s and early 90s you could buy a cheap non-hybrid car that got 40+ MPG easily. And today a hybrid Camry gets, what, 33 MPG?

It's not a coincidence. CAFE standards haven't been raised from 27.5MPG since 1990. (http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/CARS/rules/CAFE/overview.htm)

It wasn't till late last year that congress and the president passed a new law raising fleet efficiency goals to 35MPG by 2020.

So you're right, but just in the opposite direction. Now that Detroit has pressure on it to raise efficiency standards again, I expect to start seeing devices like this come out.

Re:Next stop, infomercial and/or MLM (1)

driftingwalrus (203255) | about 6 years ago | (#25176095)

You know, in the late 80s and early 90s you could buy a cheap non-hybrid car that got 40+ MPG easily. And today a hybrid Camry gets, what, 33 MPG?

And which car would that be? I notice you don't cite any name for it. Without citations, you can say anything and it could just as easily be completely false.

Re:Next stop, infomercial and/or MLM (2, Informative)

Computershack (1143409) | about 6 years ago | (#25176139)

And which car would that be? I notice you don't cite any name for it. Without citations, you can say anything and it could just as easily be completely false.

Citroen AX, Citroen VISA, Ford Escort 1.8 diesel, Ford Sierra 1.8 diesel, Vauxhall Cavalier, Vauxhall Astra, Vauxhall Nova, Peugeot 205 D...the list is endless outside of continental America. And yes, I'm taking into account we have a bigger "gallon" than you.

Geo Metro (1)

El Puerco Loco (31491) | about 6 years ago | (#25176165)

the 1990 Geo Metro XFI got 44/53 mpg city/hwy.

Re:Next stop, infomercial and/or MLM (2, Informative)

El Puerco Loco (31491) | about 6 years ago | (#25176193)

also:

1992 Honda Civic HB VX 40/50 mpg

and the regular edition of the geo metro, also sold as the suzuki swift, chevy sprint, and pontiac firefly got 38/45 mpg.

Re:Next stop, infomercial and/or MLM (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 6 years ago | (#25176273)

>>Without citations, you can say anything and it could just as easily be completely false.

What, I didn't provide enough citations already?

Combined Fuel Efficiency:
Geo Metro (40 MPG): http://www.fueleconomy.gov/FEG/noframes/13347.shtml [fueleconomy.gov]
Honda Civic (34 MPG): http://www.fueleconomy.gov/FEG/noframes/3033.shtml [fueleconomy.gov]

Note that these numbers are using their own metric for fuel efficiency which is lower than the official number. The 87 Honda Civic has an official EPA combined mileage of 54MPG.

Re:Next stop, infomercial and/or MLM (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 6 years ago | (#25176295)

My Opel Kadett 1.2S, built in 1983 and owned by me around the year 2000 commonly did 1:18, or 42 mpg.

Re:Next stop, infomercial and/or MLM (4, Insightful)

Tawnos (1030370) | about 6 years ago | (#25176141)

More safety features, higher power consumption, more powerful engines, heavier/bigger cars.

Adding in anti-lock brakes, airbags, large crumple zones, heated seats, air conditioning, cd players with built in satellite radio, devices that perform sexually acts on you, power steering, power windows, power adjustable seats, et cetera all increase total power consumption/weight of the car. Accidents have become safer, driving has become more comfortable, but the result is a car that weighs more and needs more power to get from point A to point B.

Largely, this is a result of demand: as consumers became aware of crash tests, safety features, et cetera, they were less likely to purchase (demand) cars that fail to provide adequate safety by modern standards.

It's not some conspiracy, it's simple physics: it takes less energy to move a smaller mass from one point to another.

Re:Next stop, infomercial and/or MLM (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | about 6 years ago | (#25176225)

Except my car has most of those things (It doesn't perform sex acts, or at least I'm not sure which button it is) regularly gets 58-60mpg.

A hybrid getting 33mpg? Someone's having a laugh putting that into production...

you forgot to add 250lb adults (2, Funny)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 6 years ago | (#25176249)

add 2 x 250lb adults and a fat kid or three, and theres an extra 1000 to haul.

Re:Next stop, infomercial and/or MLM (4, Funny)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 6 years ago | (#25176271)

[...]devices that perform sexually acts on you,[...]

This is a bad example in your list, as they are nothing new.

They are still available these days, as they were in the 70s. Usually not for sale. Typical monikers for these devices that do not charge directly for their operations are "girlfriend", "boyfriend", "mistress", "husband" or "wife". If in need you can always try to rent them, this version is often called "prostitute" or "hooker", though in many countries sold under euphemisms as "escort" or "masseuse".

This post is not a recommendation of their use, particularly not while driving. While their use may have a bad effect on your fuel usage, the main concern is safety.

Re:Next stop, infomercial and/or MLM (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 6 years ago | (#25176285)

>>It's not some conspiracy, it's simple physics: it takes less energy to move a smaller mass from one point to another.

I didn't say it was a conspiracy - I'm well aware that mass is the main factor in car efficiency.

The point is that it's not terribly hard to see why fuel efficiency levels dropped - congress stopped holding their feet to the fire.

>>devices that perform sexually acts on you

Meh, Arnold would probably outlaw that too. He's been a total killjoy for auto safety.

Re:Next stop, infomercial and/or MLM (1)

Angostura (703910) | about 6 years ago | (#25176089)

"insensive purposes"? what does that mean? Did you mean to say "intents and purposes"? Or have a just fallen for a well-crafted troll?

Re:Next stop, infomercial and/or MLM (1)

Angostura (703910) | about 6 years ago | (#25176113)

Excellent, I managed to inject a typo into my own pedantic post.

Re:Next stop, infomercial and/or MLM (1)

Tawnos (1030370) | about 6 years ago | (#25176121)

Well crafted. He uses a number of common mistakes in one sig (intensive, begs the question, who vs whom, ect (that's intentional ;) )).

Remember when???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25176291)

As a couple of others have pointed out, as far back as the mid 70s we had cars whose MPG blew away today's standards.

WTF? You'd think we could have actually improved MPG in 30 years, but what do I know.

Taken for a ride (4, Insightful)

sugarmotor (621907) | about 6 years ago | (#25175911)

I'm not a car person, but my impression is that if you go to Europe you'll find that off-the-shelf cars are a lot more fuel-efficient than off-the-shelf cars
  in America.

They should be available in America but they are not.

Stephan

Re:Taken for a ride (4, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | about 6 years ago | (#25175923)

Fuel standards in Europe are higher than for the USA though (higher RON fuel). You can tune european models of cars to get more power because of that, and some cars are meant to be run only on 'super unleaded' rather than just standard unleaded petrol (I think because you can get higher compression without pinking or something). That probably means that you can tune them to be more fuel efficient than US cars too, but someone will no doubt correct me on the details :)

yes and no.... (1)

CdBee (742846) | about 6 years ago | (#25175965)

While some cars sold here run better on premium fuel (and sufficiently so to defray the higher cost entirely) no cars are sold in the UK that cannot run on regular 95-RON petrol (gasoline), as it is the ubiquitous standard and in some places, all thats available. Your argument does hold true with diesels but because of sulphur not octane/cetane

Re:yes and no.... (1)

somersault (912633) | about 6 years ago | (#25176111)

Probably true for all domestic model cars, but I think some Japanese imports are meant to be 98 RON only (or whatever the higher standard is). If you know your car is going to only be run on super you can have it tuned accordingly to get more power.

In America [wikipedia.org] it's the 'premium' stuff that is 95 RON, whereas here that's the minumum! I'm guessing that in Japan they only run 98 RON or higher, can't find much info on that though.

Re:Taken for a ride (2, Informative)

zakezuke (229119) | about 6 years ago | (#25176243)

Fuel standards in Europe are higher than for the USA though (higher RON fuel).

You understand in the states our petrol octane number is measured based on RON+MON/2, as in an average of two standards.

87 octane US is like 91 or 92 RON.

Now you could be an insider telling us that Euro fuel is actually more refined, and American petrol uses a ton of additives to compensate for a less refined product. I have no clue if this is true or not, but if you're just going by the numbers, our numbers are lower.

Re:Taken for a ride (1)

Talez (468021) | about 6 years ago | (#25176317)

87 octane US is like 91 or 92 RON.

That's great but standard in the UK, Japan and half of Europe is RON 95.

Re:Taken for a ride (1)

CdBee (742846) | about 6 years ago | (#25175933)

True - however our cars are generally smaller and haven't historically matched American demands for interior space, also our most-efficient vehicles require low-sulphur diesel fuel which still is not generally available in some parts of the US, although it has become much more common than it was.

Re:Taken for a ride (3, Insightful)

nih (411096) | about 6 years ago | (#25175979)

I'm not a car person, but my impression is that if you go to Europe you'll find that
off-the-shelf cars are a lot more fuel-efficient than off-the-shelf cars in America.

cars on shelves? proof that everything in America is bigger!

Re:Taken for a ride (2, Informative)

DrogMan (708650) | about 6 years ago | (#25175999)

My Petrol Merc (a 12 year old C180 auto) can get 38 miles to the gallon.

My wife's Merc (Ok, it's a Smart for 4) regularly gets over 50 to the gallon (petrol)

Diesel cars here (UK) can get over 60 to the gallon.

Why is 38 in a diesel considered special?

Re:Taken for a ride (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 6 years ago | (#25176047)

Exactly. My 1987 Citroen CX 25DTR, which was basically powered by a 1970s diesel truck engine, could easily achieve 40mpg - more, if I increased the boost pressure and fuelling rate.

38mpg is lame, for a modern diesel. 32mpg is an engine fire.

Re:Taken for a ride (0)

pjt33 (739471) | about 6 years ago | (#25176053)

Especially when you consider that a US gallon is larger than an Imperial gallon.

Re:Taken for a ride (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25176085)

Especially when you consider that a US gallon is larger than an Imperial gallon.

Um... Not quite: an Imperial Gallon is aproximately 1.2 US gallon...

Re:Taken for a ride (1)

prefect42 (141309) | about 6 years ago | (#25176115)

Psst, no it isn't. Google says:

1 US gallon = 0.83267384 Imperial gallons

Re:Taken for a ride (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25176087)

Your gallons are different.

Re:Taken for a ride (1)

beefstu01 (520880) | about 6 years ago | (#25176109)

Part of it is that safety and emissions requirements are more stringent in the USA, so there are a lot of modifications that need to be made in order to sell the cars here. For example (if I recall correctly) the US version of the new Lotus Elise weighs something like 50-100lbs more than the Euro version because of the safety equipment they had to throw in.

That said, yes, it's stupid that a lot of the European cars aren't Stateside. In addition to being more efficient, they're so much better looking than the crap they try selling us here.

Re:Taken for a ride (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25176143)

Most Americans wouldn't want a small European car though.
Compare gas prices, and you'll see why a lot of Europeans do, and why diesel (cheaper AND more efficient) is so popular here.

Re:Taken for a ride (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25176155)

The real reason for the difference in fuel-efficiency between Europe and the US is the somewhat smaller size of the US-gallon. Everyone else here already knew that of course, but now you can too!

Re:Taken for a ride (1)

WarwickRyan (780794) | about 6 years ago | (#25176215)

They're not available in the US because you guys don't like small cars. Plus you're not paying $2.50 per litre like we do here (in Netherlands).

Missing information (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25175917)

The device, attached to the fuel line of a car's engine near the fuel injector, creates an electric field that thins fuel, reducing its viscosity so that smaller droplets are injected into the engine.

So, where is the electricity for this electric field coming? Let us hope it doesn't waste the fuel it just saved.

Re:Missing information (1)

jibjibjib (889679) | about 6 years ago | (#25176303)

Maintaining a constant electric field doesn't require energy input. Of course, no hardware is perfect, and there will probably be some energy loss. But it would certainly be much less than 20% of your car's output.

busted. (3, Insightful)

thhamm (764787) | about 6 years ago | (#25175935)

The device, attached to the fuel line of a car's engine near the fuel injector, creates an electric field that thins fuel, reducing its viscosity so that smaller droplets are injected into the engine.

Oh come on please stop it. This has been busted [wikipedia.org] .

Fuel Efficiency of Honda (5, Interesting)

William Robinson (875390) | about 6 years ago | (#25175945)

There has been wave of fuel efficient bikes in India after Honda introduced 'Hero Honda' bike with fuel efficiency as high as 60 Kmpl (142 miles per galon). Before that 2 wheelers had peak efficiency of 25-20 Kmpl (70mpg).

Vehicles with fuel efficiency as high as 100Kmpl (236 mpg) have been launched by some companies. I always wondered what made it possible and what technology they use.

Re:Fuel Efficiency of Honda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25175991)

There is the infinitely fuel efficient bike - The regular pedal cycle. No fuel needed except for the driver/rider.
But seriously, Honda used to have a 50cc bike called c50 that gave about 250mpg. The 50cc engine was a 4 -stroke and is like a clock - very smooth too, just a single cylinder.

Re:Fuel Efficiency of Honda (1)

DeltaQH (717204) | about 6 years ago | (#25176179)

What about driving always downhill? ;-)

Re:Fuel Efficiency of Honda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25176289)

Bikes get better fuel efficiency by the virtue that they don't have to move the mass a typical car has.

Re:Fuel Efficiency of Honda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25176293)

I always wondered what made it possible and what technology they use.

It's a very modern and creative new technology. It consists of creative accounting and creative advertising based on creative measurements.

Two years ago it was magnets... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25175951)

This same "scientist" was promoting a magnetic device to do the same thing two years ago.

http://www.autobloggreen.com/2006/11/03/erin-brockovich-gets-your-attention-but-can-magnets-improve-fue/

Strange that we don't all have them bolted to our engines by now...

Amazing. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 6 years ago | (#25176059)

MOD PARENT UP!! Good link. Nice photo of Erin Brockovich. LOL.

Quote from the paper referenced in the Slashdot story: "Using the mismatch in the dielectric constant or magnetic permeability between the suspended particles and the base liquid, we can apply an electric or magnetic field to aggregate the small particles into large ones."

What? The "magnetic permeability" [wikipedia.org] of a non-magnetic substance?

Re:Amazing. (1)

driftingwalrus (203255) | about 6 years ago | (#25176105)

Wait... if you "aggregate small particles into large ones", wouldn't that make the fluid more viscous, not less?

Yes. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 6 years ago | (#25176133)

That paper is very poorly written, at least.

Easier way , without the snake-oil... (1)

CdBee (742846) | about 6 years ago | (#25175955)

By fitting slightly larger wheels (for better overall gearing and lower rolling resistance) and good low-roll res tyres on a vehicle this sort of efficiency gain is achievable without any suspicious attachments to the system.

I suspect unless the tests done with this gadget were blind tests on unsuspecting users, the test-effect where the driver knows at some level that they are meant to be driving efficiently is largely responsible.

The gains seen could easily have been created just through good driving techniques such as decelerating in high gear, timing acceleration to coincide with flat or downhill roads, not revving or idling when stationary, etc

Re:Easier way , without the snake-oil... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 6 years ago | (#25176031)

I suspect unless the tests done with this gadget were blind tests on unsuspecting users, the test-effect where the driver knows at some level that they are meant to be driving efficiently is largely responsible.

We could tell everybody their fuel economy is being tested. Maybe that will reduce consumption. A rental car I drove recently had a display for the distance remaining on the current tank of fuel, based on quantity remaining and current rate of consumption. I found that it encouraged me to find ways to push the number up.

Because electric fields in cars are good.. (4, Insightful)

278MorkandMindy (922498) | about 6 years ago | (#25175971)

1. Snake oil.
2. Fuel injectors do a pretty good job atomizing fuel
3. Modern cars do not need another random electric field
4. Where is the double blind testing?

Re:Because electric fields in cars are good.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25176067)

That's not necessary for tests on a car: what you want is independently reproducible results by completely separate groups published in a peer reviewed journal.

Until then - snake oil, as you say.

Re:Because electric fields in cars are good.. (1)

amirulbahr (1216502) | about 6 years ago | (#25176265)

The Gemini Electric Motor [abc.net.au] is up to twice as efficient as a regular electric motor.

Saw that episode ages ago and just googled it now. Can't believe they've left it up on their website.

Double blind (1)

TeatimeofSoul (711787) | about 6 years ago | (#25176309)

Hear, hear! Double blind testing is vital in a case like this, or the placebo effect might muddy the results. It is not enough to not tell the engine if it is being fitted by an actual device of this kind, or just a lookalike made from sugar - single blind testing. The people interacting with the engine must also be unaware, or it might subconsciously pick up clues from their behaviour, telling it if the device is real or not.

I've got one. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25175985)

I've got one of these and together with the fuel line magnets, electric turbocharger and hydrogen generator I have fitted I find the gas tank actually fills as I drive!

Maybe not the usual snake oil (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25176027)

The news is by regular university, not a company selling you miracle devices. They did patent it, meaning that they are not afraid to disclose how it works.

I did search for the basic claim that you can alter viscosity by eletric fields and found an article accepted in 2006 by a respected journal:

http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi/enfuem/2006/20/i05/abs/ef060072x.html

Anyway I would not buy some device before it is installed by default by some major manufacturer on a new car. MPG does sell cars today, so if they ignore this new invention, I can do too.

So it deserves some more testing (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about 6 years ago | (#25176251)

If a university professor is willing to put his reputation on the line, it is reason enough to try and reproduce the results. If that fails... ...I think Fleischmann and Pons can tell you what that does to your career ;-)

Awesome, doing it myself right now (4, Funny)

unassimilatible (225662) | about 6 years ago | (#25176041)

OK, going to increase my mileage by doing it myself, I'll just hook up some battery cables to my fuel lines to charge the gas. Alrighty then, black lead to ground, other end to fuel line. Check. Red lead to positive terminal, check. Now, I'll complete the circuit, just let me affix the read lead to the fuel l

Re:Awesome, doing it myself right now (3, Informative)

Yetihehe (971185) | about 6 years ago | (#25176071)

I think you forgot "%!$*%& [NO CARRIER]".

Snake oil (3, Insightful)

Goonie (8651) | about 6 years ago | (#25176057)

The way to demonstrate these things in a rigorous manner isn't to bolt them on a car and drive them around for a few months.

The way to do so is to bolt them into a test rig, where the engine can be placed under load in a precisely controlled manner, under identical conditions, as many times as required.

There are any number of universities (and, presumably, independent labs) which have such test rigs.

Until this device has been tested under such conditions, and given the extensive history of "fuel saving" devices which do no such thing, it's safe to assume this is snake oil.

That said, I gather Temple is a reputable university, and one does not get to be chair of Physics at such a university without a track record of quality research.

Either Prof. Tao is a genius who has done the seemingly impossible, the PR flack who did this press release has horribly misinterpreted the study and Prof. Tao, or Prof. Tao should start clearing out his desk forthwith for embarrassing the university.

Seems unlikely (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 6 years ago | (#25176063)

I'd have thought that a modern engine is designed with an assumption of a certain viscosity of fuel, and more or less viscosity would make it less efficient.

Still, it would be wrong to reject this out of hand. Find an independent judge to rig up two new cars on a rolling road, one with and one without the device, and compare fuel consumption. Swap the device over periodically to be sure.

Looks legit to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25176083)

People are spouting off Snake oil accusations at this without even reading the paper or doing any background checking. Trying to look not-gulible with uninformed cynicism only show you to be a fool.

The paper is peer reviewed and sites other peer reviewed sources of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. The Fuel efficiency tests are performed with a dynamometer a scientific torque and power measuring device which couples directly to the wheels of a car suspended off the ground, no human driving bias is introduced.

This is a significant find and I'm sure it will be incorporated into future vehicles. Unfortunately Detroit will use it to provide higher horsepower instead of fuel efficiency just like every every advancement in the last 30 years.

Re:Looks legit to me (1)

Computershack (1143409) | about 6 years ago | (#25176151)

People are spouting off Snake oil accusations at this without even reading the paper or doing any background checking.

All the snakeoil products available on shopping channels, such as the additive that allows you to run without any oil or water in the engine for 1000 miles, even racing round an oval track without any damage, have loads of "research" to back them up. They still don't work.

Scientology ...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25176091)

Has anyone noticed the Scientology ads on Slashdot? What have we come to, Scientology sponsored Slashdot...

Looks Legit to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25176123)

Its a peer reviewed paper from a major chemical journal, the sited papers are of the same class.

The tests are performed with a dynamometer, thats a scientific instrument for measuring torque and mechanical power. A car is typically lifted off the ground, the wheel removed and the input shaft of the dynamometer attached. All acusations of driver bias is uninformed BS from people who haven't read the paper in the link.

it's just an extension... (3, Insightful)

isecore (132059) | about 6 years ago | (#25176183)

The problem I see with this device (and by extension any device or method used to improve gas-mileage in vehicles powered by fossil-fuels) is that it just serves to extend a technology that should've been abandoned decades ago.

Rather than solving the problem, i.e. our dependency on fossil-fuels, we are treating the symptoms of it.

This is just a band-aid. We're ignoring the fact that our vehicles need to be powered by something sustainable. This is where the research should be pointed - to alternate forms of energy for our cars. Not to prolong this addiction to gasoline.

Knee-jerk /. (5, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | about 6 years ago | (#25176189)

60+ posts all yelling snake oil, all from people clearly with little or no engine experience.

While this may or may not be snake oil, the theory behind the gain is sound -- I don't know if people missed or don't understand that he's talking about diesel engines, not gasoline or understand that diesel is basically oil, its considerably more viscous than gasoline is.

Atomization of diesel has always been an issue with it. There's a reason the engines heat the fuel (the opposite of what you do with gasoline) before injecting into the engine -- it helps thin it down and helps atomization.

I can't say what a magnetic field may or may not do to it -- possibly nothing, perhaps something about the way he rigged it is simply heating the fuel.

Knee jerk reactions, however, from people who clearly don't understand how diesel engines work, is more useless than a snakeoil charlatan -- because real innovations can be lost.

Perfect example: I had someone tell me that a particular half in thick plate made of some sort of composite plastic that goes between a carburetor and intake manifold on a car was snake oil just like the "turbo twist" or whatever those metal fins sold to go in an engines intake.

The guy didn't understand how carbs work -- didn't understand how much heat a plate like that blocks from the fuel bowl in the carb, or how much the increased linear path through the carb helps to stabilize the atomization of fuel, making it burn more consistently. So he was calling snake oil on a part that, frankly, is a requirement on a carbed engine.

So everyone, be skeptical but holy crap, chill out. As yourself if your opinion is educated before you go assuming its correct.

Re:Knee-jerk /. (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | about 6 years ago | (#25176261)

Oh please. 38mpg on a diesel? I could probably get that on mine driving 70mph in second gear. Normal driving I can break 60mpg without any messing around with snake oil.

This is no innovation. They just need to get a car less than 10 years old.

Re:Knee-jerk /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25176305)

Oh please. 38mpg on a diesel? I could probably get that on mine driving 70mph in second gear. Normal driving I can break 60mpg without any messing around with snake oil.

This is no innovation. They just need to get a car less than 10 years old.

I wonder if you'd be quite so inexplicably stupid if the opportunity were to exist for an additional 12-20% interest on your life savings?

Re:Knee-jerk /. (1)

psb777 (224219) | about 6 years ago | (#25176275)

It's snakeoil.

An easier way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25176201)

Just mount the biggest sub woofer you can find under the hood and put on some Metallica. If you're into oldies Smoke on the Water works pretty well but the efficiency tends to vary with the beat.

still needs testing to back it up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25176205)

This needs real testing to back it up.

I've never heard of electricity reducing a liquids viscosity, but then again, I've never heard of that being tested either.

I'm not immediately lumping this with the voodoo magnets since it would obviously run under much higher energy levels than fridge magnets. (Or even rare earth magnets.)

Assuming the device actually works, and does provide a 10%-20% efficiency boost, get that sucker to market quick and cheap. License it for engine manufacturers and make it available for aftermarket sales. And to emphasize it, do it Cheap! You'll make up the profit through volume, (Economics 101), and the overall benefit to the public will earn you lots of brownie points that can be spent on your next project.

I bet toyota has a patent on this (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 6 years ago | (#25176221)

or the oil execs will make sure to outlaw this now ;)

Seriously tho... one wonders why billions of dollars and minds couldnt have improved efficiency years ago...
Come on scientists, work a little harder :-) for simple solutions to benefit all.
Now we just need managers to approve this research, and not just cup holders.

Droplet size? (4, Informative)

mlwmohawk (801821) | about 6 years ago | (#25176245)

Give me a break. Sorry, the "big" car guys, GM, Toyota, Ford, Mercedes, et al know the physics of combustion very well.

I have been chasing the problem in my spare time for years. I remember an invention I had in high school auto-shop, in 1978 (I was an electronics nerd and gear head) of drilling hole in a distributor cap, fastening a mirror to the rotor and using opto-electronics to detect the rotation and fire a small coil for each spark plug. I was able to run the car without a high voltage distributor. I should have patented it, because cars more or less work like that now. Anyway, I digress.

"Droplet Size" has been handled quite effectively by increasing the fuel injector pressure in the newer cars.

You aren't going to come up with a solution those guys haven't thought about. The only thing you can do is come up with an invention that they are unable to sell. Look at something like Nitrous Oxide or some other oxidizer, now, if you beef up a four cylinder engine to take the increased torque and rework the carboration/fuel injection control so that it is a seamless boost, you could run a much bigger car on a much smaller engine. Most cars are very fuel efficient while running, but suck down gas on acceleration. The over all fuel economy is how much gas a vehicle needs to maintain its speed, and the amount of power required to do that is a fraction of the capability of the engine, but to get the acceleration you need, you need the extra displacement.

So, even though you may need a 5.2 liters of engine displacement for performance, you need far less for maintaining speed, so why not start small with a four cylinder, and use something like NOS to bridge the difference? That's what a turbo or a super charger does. By compressing the air into the intake system, you are making your 4 cylinders effectively larger by allowing them to take in more air and fuel. Turbos, however, have a bad but improving performance curve. They have nothing at the start, and "lag" performance over a bigger motor. NOS doesn't suffer that problem.

So, if you can find a cheap and plentiful and safe oxidizer gas and can make the boost clean, you'll be rich.

Re:Droplet size? (1)

kaizokuace (1082079) | about 6 years ago | (#25176311)

newer turbos dont lag much these days. The understanding behind turbo systems is not what it used to be. Look at the new GTR35. Barely any lag at all making it extremely powerful in cornering.

This work was supported in part by RAND and STWA. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25176255)

At the bottom --
====
Acknowledgment

This work was supported in part by RAND and STWA.
====

Well, we all know who RAND is. What is STWA?
Apparently it's "Save the World Air Inc". Oh and look at that they happen to sell a product that does *exactly* what this "research" paper is about.

Sad what's happened to academic research.

Similar has been tried and failed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25176279)

I've read of the exact same thing tried inside the cylinder but they were never able to get it to improve efficiency and that was inside the cylinder. I find it hard to believe the change is surface tension would be translated through the fuel injectors. I believe they tried using sonic shockwaves to break the surface tension but it either had no affect or I seem to remember it loosing efficiency because the sonic waves tended to make the fuel "clump" like rain drops colliding. It's been a few years and I can't remember the specifics but I remember it was a failure and as I said that was inside the cylinder.

No Fuel Boost Article (1)

sciop101 (583286) | about 6 years ago | (#25176319)

Found 2006 article about reducing crude oil viscosity by same author == R. Tao.

"Reducing the Viscosity of Crude Oil by Pulsed Electric or Magnetic Field"

http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/sample.cgi/enfuem/2006/20/i05/html/ef060072x.html/ [acs.org]

As others have said before me, this sounds like pure 100% Unalduterated Snake Oil.

Now we just wait for the infomercial.

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