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Metal Casting Technologies : Dec 2009
8 www.metals.rala.com.au BRIEFINGS up to the scheme as simple as possible. Agassi said the biggest mistake made by those established car manufacturers seeking to break into the electric car market was the failure to recognise that batteries were a consumable rather than a mere component. "It's the kilometres that people buy," he said. "The force of this business mode is that we are betting on the inevitable. If you can make that car, make the infrastructure and make it convenient, and still have positive margin on the kilometre side, you are tipping a $10 trillion market. "And I will tell you why I'm sure. Because if I am wrong the price of oil will be at US $200 a barrel, and I will be able to subside the price of electric cars so far that there will be a billion electric cars by 2020! If we're right, we'll get there fast, and if we're wrong we'll have to wait a year and then get there fast. It doesn't really matter, it is an inevitable conclusion. It is a curve and if you are sliding down that curve you will get to that point." Source: BusinessGreen.com Transforming energy -- new engine concepts As part of a serial hybrid vehicle, a new concept engine it could cut fuel consumption by 80 percent compared with a conventional car engine, carbon dioxide emissions by more than 90 percent. The engine will only have a single rotating part, be smaller (about the size of a cooking pot), lighter and cheaper to manufacture. Dr Mueller, a professor of mechanical engineering at Michigan State University, has received a two-year $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency to build a prototype. In a four-stroke, four-cylinder engine, only one cylinder is actually performing the work, claimed Dr Mueller. "The other three cylinders and the other three strokes are just preparing or finishing the cycle." "What we do is we use a shock wave to eliminate all of this, a shock wave like you get when a bomb is dropped." Specifically, his design replaces the cylinders, pistons, rods and crankshaft with a single spinning disc that has curved blades extending from the centre along one face. "There are no solid friction parts, no materials rubbing against each other. There are no rods to break, no oil cooling. There is not even a main bearing, because the bearing can be in the generator," Mueller said. The auto industry was a focus, Kosinski said, because "it's an area where the U.S has the potential of becoming a leader, and vehicles use a significant portion of the energy in this country." International Magnesium award for CAST's Mark Easton At the 8th International Conference on Magnesium Alloys and Applications held recently, Australia's Dr Mark Easton was announced as the winner of the GKSS Magnesium Research Award. The GKSS Research Centre in Geesthacht initiated the award to honour innovative work by an individual researcher in the area of the science and technology of magnesium alloys. Magnesium is a logical lightweight alternative to traditional materials, especially for automotive applications. Magnesium is 33% lighter than aluminium and 75% lighter than cast iron, has an excellent strength to weight ratio, high shock and dent resistance and will dampen noise and vibrations significantly more than either aluminium or steel. Dr Easton was selected from a field of applicants from Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. According to GKSS, Dr Easton received the award because of his important contributions Mark Easton to the understanding of the relationship between nuclei and grain refinement for magnesium alloys. Dr Easton was involved in the development of new grain refiner for wrought alloys containing Zr in its most effective form. He has led teams in the development of several new alloys, predominantly for casting, and for a range of other applications. Dr Easton has provided considerable leadership in the Australian research community and globally. According to Dr Easton, "My passion is for doing research that spans the gap between good science and the development of real technologies." "Research is able to contribute to some of the important issues that face the world and humanity. One of the greatest issues is how we learn to live in a resource limited world. I like to think that my research goes some way to addressing these issues." Mark Easton is a Research Program Manager with the CAST Cooperative Research Centre based at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
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