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Old 04 January 2011, 10:31 PM
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Jenn Jenn is offline
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: Alberta
Posts: 19,477
Icon102 Tiny engine

Comment: I have my doubts about whether this engine actually exists. Use of the
word “petrol” indicates it is not of US origin in this version (since petrol is used in
Britain and Australia at least, but “gas” is used in the US):

SCIENTISTS have built the smallest petrol engine, tiny enough to power
a WATCH. The mini-motor, which runs for two years on a single squirt of
lighter fuel, is set to revolutionize world technology. It produces 700 times
more energy than a conventional battery despite being less than a
centimeter long not even half an inch. It could be used to operate laptops
and mobile phones for months doing away with the need for recharging.
Experts believe it could be phasing out batteries in such items within just
six years. The engine, minute enough to be balanced on a fingertip, has
been produced by engineers at the University of Birmingham. Dr Kyle Jiang,
lead investigator from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, said: “We
are looking at an industrial revolution happening in peoples’ pockets. “The
breakthrough is an enormous step forward. “Devices which need re- charging
or new batteries are a problem but in six years will be a thing of the past.”
Other applications for the engine could include medical and military uses,
such as running heart pacemakers or mini reconnaissance robots. At present,
charging an ordinary battery to deliver one unit of energy involves putting
2,000 units into it. The little engine, because energy is produced locally, is
far more effective. One of the main problems faced by engineers who have
tried to produce micro motors in the past has been the levels of heat
produced. The engines got so hot they burned themselves out and could not
be re-used. The Birmingham team overcame this by using heat-resistant
materials such as ceramic and silicon carbide. Professor Graham Davies, head
of the university’s engineering school, said: “We’ve brought together all the
engineering disciplines, materials, chemical engineering, civil engineering, and
mechanical engineering. “What better place to have the second industrial
revolution in nano-technology than where the first took place, in the heart
of the West Midlands.”

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Old 04 January 2011, 10:49 PM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
Join Date: 05 September 2005
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 23,654
United Kingdom

It appears to be a very old (2003) news story.
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Old 04 January 2011, 11:01 PM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
Join Date: 05 September 2005
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 23,654
Read This!
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Old 05 January 2011, 02:18 AM
RLS RLS is offline
Join Date: 30 January 2007
Location: Plainview, MN
Posts: 321

Looks real and interesting
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Old 05 January 2011, 08:52 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
Join Date: 04 November 2005
Location: Borlänge, Sweden
Posts: 11,580

I don't see why it would be fake. Ultra light model aircraft use engines which are on the same scale, the smallest I've seen had a displacement of about 1 mm3.
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Old 06 January 2011, 01:52 AM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
Join Date: 29 December 2005
Location: Greenwood, IN
Posts: 6,912

I would expect the efficiency to be really poor. Typical car engines are about 30% efficient. And that is with pretty sophisticated controls on the engine (which the tiny motors wouldn't have). Given the huge surface area to volume ratio of a tiny engine these are probably more like 10% efficient because of too much heat loss. Hard to imagine that fuel + motor would be able to match the power density of a typical battery.
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Old 30 July 2013, 06:27 PM
duffy duffy is offline
Join Date: 27 July 2013
Location: Pulaski, WI
Posts: 2
Default Bunk

Lighter fuel is typically butane. Butane has 27 MJ/L of energy -
Say a "squirt" of fuel is a cubic centimeter. 1 liter = 1000 cc, so 1 cc butane = 27 kJ of energy. 1 Joule = 1 watt-second, so 27 kJ = 27,000 watt-seconds = 450 watt-minutes = 7.5 watt-hours. Even if the engine and generator were ONE HUNDRED PERCENT EFFICIENT, it would not run a cellphone (let alone a laptop) for 2 years. Not even close - that would be hours, not years. What's more, I would be surprised if you could even get 20% efficiency, engines that small are notoriously inefficient.
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