Leezyjet
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Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Fri Dec 29, 2006 10:39 pm

As piston power is fairly inefficient, why have manufacturers never really botherd to invest in making a turbine powered car ?.

Not talking huge jet powered things like Thrust SSC or that thing that Richard Hammond crashed.

From what I know of a/c engines, turbines only have one moving part and are much more efficient in turning the fuel into power as very little power is lost in the movement of the engine.

Surely the technology is there to produce a small turbine that would be able to power a vehicle.

 Smile
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TheSonntag
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Fri Dec 29, 2006 10:50 pm

It might surprise you, but this was actually tested in the 70s, and believe it or not, piston engines are much more suited for cars.

Airplanes tend to cruise at the same RPM for a long time, while cars must speed up and down all the time. Turbine engines are bad at speeding up and down compared to piston engines. You can easily speed up a piston engine very fast, while it takes some time for Turbine engines.

Of course, you could use a turbine to power an electric engine for a car, but this is highly inefficient.

Also, a Diesel engine is, in fact, a very efficient engine. Just because the piston engine principle is old does not mean it is outdated.
 
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KaiGywer
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Fri Dec 29, 2006 10:50 pm

Noise and speed control come to mind. I would imagine it being hard to control the speed, and where would the HOT exhaust go?

It has been done though. Not a success  Smile Love the sound on the webpage, and can you imagine smelling Jet A-1 while driving...mmmm Big grin

http://www.turbinecar.com/turbine.htm


http://www.familycar.com/Classics/ChryslerTurboCar.htm
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jamesbuk
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Fri Dec 29, 2006 10:56 pm

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 2):
and can you imagine smelling Jet A-1 while driving...mmmm

aaahhhh man thatd be heaven!! My fave part of any airport is standing behind the active take off runway and smelling the fuel as it burns when they take off.

Isnt a fair bit of energy wasted as heat in a jet engine though?

Rgds --James--
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vc10
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Fri Dec 29, 2006 11:14 pm

Try the following web site and you will see that the Rover cars produced a jet powered car in 1950 , but it never went into general production

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/d...march/8/newsid_2516000/2516271.stm

littlevc10
 
baroque
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Fri Dec 29, 2006 11:26 pm

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 1):
Airplanes tend to cruise at the same RPM for a long time, while cars must speed up and down all the time. Turbine engines are bad at speeding up and down compared to piston engines. You can easily speed up a piston engine very fast, while it takes some time for Turbine engines.

So much so that with the first German jets, the Arado bomber had (then) acceptable engine life, because of limited throttle changes whereas the Me262 with basically the same engines had no end of trouble because of the demands for throttle change and accompanying wear of the engines.

Quoting VC10 (Reply 4):
Try the following web site and you will see that the Rover cars produced a jet powered car in 1950 , but it never went into general production

The rather lousy fuel consumption they quote was probably with the version that had a complex heat recovery system using, IIRC glass beads. Another problem was the lag on acceleration, apparently it was very difficult to drive out of a corner. Nothing much happened as it spooled up and then all hell was let loose.

It is a pity the main account seems only to be the contemporaneous "gee whiz this is new" sort of article.

Rover's association with gas turbines was problematical to say the least. They were designated by the UK Government to deal with Power Jets and Sir Frank Whittle, but made such a pig's breakfast of it during WWII, that the main work was taken over to RR. Whittle's autobiog is quite revealing on the subject.
 
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KaiGywer
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Fri Dec 29, 2006 11:29 pm

Quoting Baroque (Reply 5):
The rather lousy fuel consumption they quote was probably with the version that had a complex heat recovery system using, IIRC glass beads. Another problem was the lag on acceleration, apparently it was very difficult to drive out of a corner. Nothing much happened as it spooled up and then all hell was let loose.

Reading the Chrysler site, it seemed like it worked really good, but was killed by treehuggers because of too much Nitrous Oxide emissions
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, an
 
777DadandJr
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Fri Dec 29, 2006 11:33 pm

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 2):
where would the HOT exhaust go?



Quoting Jamesbuk (Reply 3):
Isnt a fair bit of energy wasted as heat in a jet engine though?

This was a bit obstacle to overcome. I remember reading an article some time ago about the Chrysler Turbine of 1963. It was said that at idle the temperature of the exhaust emitted from the tailpipe was in excess of 500 degrees!

Wouldn't want to step off the curb in sandals behind one of those puppies!

Russ  wave 
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Leezyjet
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Sat Dec 30, 2006 8:00 pm

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 2):
Love the sound on the webpage, and can you imagine smelling Jet A-1 while driving

That sounds great. I'd love to hear that humming along every morning. IIRC you could run a diesel car on Jet A-1 without any modifications. A guy I used to know used to fuel his Renault 5 GT Turbo with Av-Gas then take it for a blast down the runway at RAF Linton-on-Ouse !!.

Surely though the turbine technology has come a long way since those cars back in the 60's/70's that could make it a viable alternative when combined with electric motors.

 Smile
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f.pier
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Sat Dec 30, 2006 9:05 pm

But what would happen when a car turned left and the jet flow hitted against pedestrians?
 
sv2008
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Sat Dec 30, 2006 9:09 pm

Quoting 777DadandJr (Reply 7):
the temperature of the exhaust emitted from the tailpipe was in excess of 500 degrees!

Gas from a piston engine can be as much as 800'C - although a smaller amount, and it cools a bit before leaving the car.

I think lack of low speed torque was a problem too, something you need for cars.
 
TedTAce
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Sat Dec 30, 2006 10:11 pm

I'm surprised this didn't get a mention:
http://www.indy500.com/news/story.php?story_id=1923
http://www.autodrome-cannes.com/indy67_grid_parnelli_jones.jpg

Personally, I'd love to have:
http://962.com/events/FOW_day/fullimages/DSC_0009.jpg
With a PT6 in it!!!

It's not a car, but I'd also love to have:
This space intentionally left blank
 
sv2008
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Sat Dec 30, 2006 10:55 pm

^Those cars are turbine/electric hybrid presumably?
 
TheSonntag
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Sat Dec 30, 2006 11:06 pm

Not a "car" in this respect, but worth mentioning is the M1 tank, which also uses a gas turbine. As far as I know, there are no real advantages compared to a big Diesel for a tank.
 
sv2008
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Sat Dec 30, 2006 11:28 pm

Only power to weight ratio presumably, but they would have many other disadvantages.
 
baroque
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Sat Dec 30, 2006 11:51 pm

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 6):
Reading the Chrysler site, it seemed like it worked really good, but was killed by treehuggers because of too much Nitrous Oxide emissions

Well if you read the Rover stuff it is all gee whiz - wonderful. But the realities were a bit different. One of histories great ideas that on further examination was not that great. Mind you, Rover and turbines had not gone well previously, so that might have been one extra problem.
 
Duff44
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:40 am

Quoting Sv2008 (Reply 12):
^Those cars are turbine/electric hybrid presumably?

The top one and the boat are straight turbine drive... no electric.

The Nissan has a V6 twin-turbo

How about a turbine motorcycle?
http://www.marineturbine.com/motorsports.asp

320HP Roll-Royce Allison 250 series gas turbine, top speed appx. 227mph/365kph


One big problem with turbine power is heat. You don't want to be touching an exhaust that's at 1700º or whatever it is.
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Alessandro
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Sun Dec 31, 2006 5:16 am

Didn´t checker sell a turbinecar?
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AsstChiefMark
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Sun Dec 31, 2006 6:24 am

The turbine delay was about 5 to 10 seconds. They took a while to start moving after you hit the gas.

Mark
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cptkrell
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Sun Dec 31, 2006 10:59 am

Part of Sonntag's (Rep 2) pretty well sums it up. Turbines are efficient at steady throttles and they also take time to throttle arrive.

The general demands of automotive performance (with some exceptions, say, WOT at Indy as per the Granatelli car, save execution demands for a wreck or ingress/egress pits), requires constant throttle changes expecting constant and immediate vehicle responses in daily driving. Turbines are poorly responsive in this area, and even if perhaps a 20+ speed transmission or equivalent power-transfer program were engineered to enhance a turbine's plus/minus fuel flow were perfected, I would think that the cost/weight etc would still result in a minus in the total efficiency spectrum.

Many years ago, myself and a couple others designed and packaged a small constant RPM turbine (a Williams unit, IIRC) as an APU for luxury cars. The design intent was to completely eliminate all auxillary take-offs from the car's engine (alternator, water pump, power steering, brakes, electrical loads, etc, etc), so the engine would be free to power the car at whopping increase in torque and horsepower and much better mileage, but too many hiccups in the overall scheme lead us to turbocharging/supercharging and increased CIDs to make up for added power loads.

I would opine that even with today's technology, gas turbines in automobiles would rank on the same page as screen windows in submarines. Regards...jack
all best; jack
 
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falstaff
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Sun Dec 31, 2006 11:37 am

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 2):
where would the HOT exhaust go?

I was able to ride in a Chrysler Turbine car in the mid 90s just after the Museum of Transport in St. Louis got theirs running again. We didn't go far, just a few laps around the parking lot. The exhaust was incredibly hot and there was a lot of it compared to a regular car of the 60s. Just standing behind it for a short period was enough to break a sweat.

Quoting AsstChiefMark (Reply 18):
The turbine delay was about 5 to 10 seconds. They took a while to start moving after you hit the gas.

There was a bit of delay I recall, but since I wasn't driving I really didn't notice. I know the driver said it took some getting used to.

Quoting Alessandro (Reply 17):
Didn´t checker sell a turbinecar?

I don't think so.

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 6):
Reading the Chrysler site, it seemed like it worked really good, but was killed by treehuggers because of too much Nitrous Oxide emissions

That might be true. US federal emissions came in for 1971 and California had them in 1966 (I think). In the mid 60s emission controls were not a big deal, but if Chrysler was thinking for the future that would be a good reason to kill it off.
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ltbewr
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Sun Dec 31, 2006 11:48 am

Despite the relatively few parts involved with small turbines, they are very expensive, much more so than a piston engine. The extreme heat, very tight tolerances, the costly labor costs for the machining needed and the very expensive materials needed, along with pollution, fuel consumption, and other factors noted in previous posts, means that turbine powered cars or light trucks are impractical.
 
AirCop
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Sun Dec 31, 2006 2:06 pm

Quoting TedTAce (Reply 11):
I'm surprised this didn't get a mention:
http://www.indy500.com/news/story.ph...=1923

Remember that race, the teams were complaining that the turbine car had an unfair advantage. Parnelli Jones was just cruising like he was out for an weekend drive, when the $6 part gave out, with 3 laps to go.
 
Rj111
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Sun Dec 31, 2006 9:42 pm

Gas turbines are only really efficient at their top rotation speeds. Ideally you'd want a turbine powering an alternator powering an electric motor to get any practical use out of it.

Even still fuel consumption is still poor. Though lower maintenance required is another advantage.
 
mandala499
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Mon Jan 01, 2007 8:19 am

How about a constant speed turbine and a continuous variable transmission? *evil grin*

I wonder how good this would be for trucks...

As for the exhaust, well, make for some use of the heat... or diffuse it further.

Mandala499
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N231YE
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Mon Jan 01, 2007 8:52 am

I don't know about the heat being that much of a problem. I remember reading an entire book on this car a while back, and it had heat exchangers in the exhaust. They exchanged the heat to the intake air aft of the compressor, cooling the exhaust gas to around 600ºF.

[Edited 2007-01-01 01:12:48]
 
glydrflyr
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Mon Jan 01, 2007 12:15 pm

A very important issue not mentioned in any of these posts is the matter of braking in a turbine powered car. A recip engine in cars or trucks provides instant engine braking when the accelerator is released, thus helping to slow the vehicle. Downshifting, in either a standard or automatic transmission vehicle, dramatically slows it, and most cars with four or more speed automatic trannies allow the driver to turn off the overdrive feature at will, helping to slow or maintain speed on long downhills, thus reducing brake usage and, in cars with barely adequate brakes, preventing the possibility of brake fade.

Chrysler discovered this, much to their chagrin, with the turbine powered Plymouths of 1954. The brakes of that time were simply not up to the kind of use that would be required of them in normal driving with a turbine engined car. Those brakes were drum type, not the rotors most car today have, and were prone to fade and were also almost useless when they got wet. The technique of the day for drying the brakes was to drag them for a while until you felt them becoming effective. Not something I would have wanted to depend on if I drove a turbine car at that time.

Chrysler, and the trade magazines of the day, were all predicting that by 1960 most vehicles would be "Jet Powered".
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KaiGywer
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Mon Jan 01, 2007 10:47 pm

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 23):
Ideally you'd want a turbine powering an alternator powering an electric motor to get any practical use out of it.

Also known as an APU?  Smile
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, an
 
baroque
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Mon Jan 01, 2007 11:09 pm

Quoting N231YE (Reply 25):
I don't know about the heat being that much of a problem. I remember reading an entire book on this car a while back, and it had heat exchangers in the exhaust. They exchanged the heat to the intake air aft of the compressor, cooling the exhaust gas to around 600ºF.

The heat exchanger on the Rover was quite bulky (that is what the glass/ceramic beads were for) and IIRC the fuel consumption was still lousy.
 
sv2008
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Mon Jan 01, 2007 11:13 pm

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 27):
Also known as an APU?

No, because it's not aux it is for the main engine.

The problem with this arrangement is heavy batteries are needed to store the energy. This doesn't work well in cars because you'd need lots of them, as the speed of the car changes frequently - the turbine speed would have to be constantly adjusted too, to an extent, to save fuel.

It's not like a Prius hybrid, you'd need far more than that to provide enough power.

There was a turbine hybrid car that used a flywheel instead, I have an article on it somewhere. This is even less practical than batteries though.
 
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KaiGywer
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Mon Jan 01, 2007 11:24 pm

Quoting Sv2008 (Reply 29):
No, because it's not aux it is for the main engine.

Well, in an airplane. A jet engine used to power a generator though, is basically an APU  Smile

However, what's the point?  Smile
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, an
 
cptkrell
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Mon Jan 01, 2007 11:37 pm

Glydrflr did bring up what I think is an additional important point; inherent engine braking (a point I might mention, totally lost with some naive posters who preached in another thread the favorability of putting a vehicle in neutral to "coast" to stop lights and down grades - not a good idea).

As he also pointed out, most USA car brakes at that time were of the drum type, clearly illustrating the ineptitude of American manufacturers when it comes to priorities. Anti-lock disc brakes had been around for a LONG time prior to the 1960s and their advantages, even without today's sophisticated computer technology, was a given, but put on the back-burner while flights of fancy technology (ie: the turbines in everyday passenger cars we are talking about now) were deemed more important even though practicality was, and is still now, highly suspect. Regrads...jack
all best; jack
 
N231YE
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Tue Jan 02, 2007 2:36 am

Quoting Baroque (Reply 28):
The heat exchanger on the Rover was quite bulky (that is what the glass/ceramic beads were for) and IIRC the fuel consumption was still lousy.

Very true. I wonder how many miles per gallon or litres per 100 km the car obtained?

Quoting Glydrflyr (Reply 26):

Its good that you mentioned that...I never knew that brakes and engine braking also play a role in the car's impracticability.
 
Rj111
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RE: Why No Turbine Powered Cars?

Tue Jan 02, 2007 2:53 am

Gas turbines were once a viable option for train, and still are in some cases. But the rise in fuel prices has all but nullified this.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e5/Union_Pacific_18.jpg

This article should highlight some of the reasons a gas turbine would not be so good for a train and subsequently a car.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_turbine-electric_locomotive

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