Do we need a new El Reg measurement for this?
Such as how many to equal a Ferrari? Or a double-decker bus engine?
Don't tell fans of big motors, but someone's just created an internal combustion engine of just five cubic microns, burning hydrogen and oxygen. Getting an engine that small isn't easy. As the researchers, led by the Netherlands' University of Twente's Vitaly Svetovoy, explain in their Nature paper, even the mechanism by which …
So it's an electrolysis then combustion thingy?
It's true that combustion does not scale well. In rocketry there is the "Characteristic length" L* which is chamber length over throat area.This used to suggest that micro rocket engines were impossible (it's usually quoted in inches, often over a foot).
But L* is a simple way to capture very complex thermochemistry between the gases and the walls and in fact at just above the stochiometric limited combustion in very small chambers is possible.
Quite what you'll use it for is another matter. ....
Nooooo :) all new Ford ecokaboom engines have a turbo to make up for their pitiful displacement and allow them to quote an mpg that is an order of magnitude or from what you can realistically expect to get If it will last long enough before expiring!
Although the new Aston inspired grille ads at least 20hp.
> I think they are suggesting that the engine can self sustain (like a car engine) until the fuel is spent, rather than need an external source of power (like a big battery).
If you read the article carefully you will notice that the "fuel" here is electricity (used to generate H2 and O2 by electrolysis of the water). So the answer to your unasked question is "both".
I think it's a closed system. Apply power, and you go to hydrogen and oxygen, with a corresponding increase in volume. Remove power, and it spontaneously forms H2O, with a reduction in volume. Switch the power rapidly, and you get a vibration.
Nothing is consumed except electrical power.
"Does /any device/ generate more energy than it consumes?"
There's a little known phenomenon called the necro-autorotation ethergenesis factor, which provides us with a sliding scale of the power produced when a severely disgruntled human corpse spins in its grave. For example:-
- Douglas Adams after the release of the film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - 375 Megawatts
- Aneurin Bevan on the state of the 21st century NHS - 850 Megawatts
- Abe Lincoln on the trampling of the US Constitution - 1.21 Gigawatts
And so on...
I think it's important because it's a new way of converting electrical energy into physical work at a nano scale.
Currently we use electric motors, voice coils (and other electro-magnetic devices), piezoelectric crystals or direct thermal expansion to convert electrical energy into movement. This seems a new way of doing the same, and if it does it more efficiently, or at a scale not previously possible, then it is important.
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