October 9th, 2008
By John DeFore
While automakers and garage-based inventors work on replacing the car as we know it, a scientist at Temple University claims to have found a way of squeezing more out of the ones we already own with a process tongue-twistingly dubbed electrorheology.
A team led by professor Rongjia Tao implemented the principle for a small device that creates a strong electric field to make auto fuel less viscous; that allows much smaller fuel droplets to be injected into the engine for combustion. As the authors explain in the introduction to their paper: “Because combustion starts at the interface between fuel and air and most harmful emissions are coming from incomplete burning, reducing the size of fuel droplets would increase the total surface area to start burning, leading to a cleaner and more efficient engine.”