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It has never been case that piston engines are inefficient and they could serve us very well into Twenty Second Century as soon as we deep six their liquid, slow burn fuel systems. The reasons Charles Pogue never realized tremendous power potential of his fast burn, 200 mile per gallon Ford sedan, was likely two things. The hot gasoline vapor made with exhaust system heat and inappropriate spark timing for an engine that required spark to come about eighty crank degrees later than timing it had as a slow burn factory engine. Combustion performance enthusiasts world over, know coldest, densest air/fuel mixture makes best power. These people can also understand that making peak cylinder pressures when piston is near top of power stroke, only tries to push crankshaft out of engine, onto ground - wasted energy like standing on bicycle pedal at very top.
What we want is cold vapor fuel which is much more easily created than Charlesí exhaust heated fuel. The secret is vaporizing power of vacuum. Success in cold vaporizing has been demonstrated by radio frequency vaporizing chambers. But piston engine operates on a vacuum system. In days of carburetors, vacuum drew in air to engineís cylinders and metered fuel fairly accurately by means of that same vacuum and simple mechanical adjustments to fuel flow.
Modern electronic fuel injection is perhaps most expensive incremental improvement to slow burn technology in Twentieth Century. It served multiple purposes. It exchanged a good, simple system, with a slightly better complex system. Computer controls took auto repair out of realm of backyard mechanics and restricted it to $50 - 70 per hour service centers - a great big bonus for auto service industry and a big expense to do -it -yourselfer.
I am no combustion engineer, nor do I wish to become one. I can only say I intuitively expect two horsepower per cubic inch displacement on any four stroke spark engine modified for cold vapor fuel, using an appropriately sized carburetor as would be done on a slow burn engine.
I further expect that a performance modification that would increase power of a slow burn engine by fifty percent, will increase power of a fast burn engine by sixty to one hundred per cent. All common power boosting practices work on fast burn engines better than slow burn. Compression ratios are not critical as octane of pure vapor is up around 110. A 12 to one compression ratio would be about 9 to 1 at 45 degrees after top dead center, when spark would occur at full power. While misfire can occur as often as 3 - 4 cycles per hundred on a new V-8 engine, misfires would be very rare with fast burn engines due to lower compression at ignition and evenness of a lean air/vapor mixture. The fast burn engine may be supercharged with a draw through carburetor producing vacuum to operate a fresh air bubbler at bottom of fuel tank. If a richer vapor is desired in bubbler, a racing fuel cell can be used, packed with fuel cell foam, greatly increasing surface area exposed to liquid fuel, vacuum will readily vaporize. Large metal fuel tanks should be reinforced top and bottom by epoxying bar stock or angle stock, so they do not collapse under vacuum.
Lastly, I would like to mention that fast burn technology is a multi fuel system. With a little experimenting and fine tuning of mixture and spark, a fast burn engine can burn gasoline, alcohol, diesel, kerosene, vegetable oil, propane and liquefied natural gas. The fuel with greatest latent energy per pound will deliver best performance and least powerful fuel will deliver very adequate performance. If you are anxious to try a fast burn conversion, please read my Fast Burn Conversion essay for tips and details for a safe conversion. HereĎs to big, clean, cheap power for new age!
Freelance writer published on many websites and newspapers.