The Chemical Composition of a Car

gas-station-1161871_1920

The purpose for examining the Chemical Composition of a Car is to search out ways to make cars safer, lighter, stronger etc. Anything a car company learns from such investigation then goes through a lengthy analysis but does eventually result in improvements to the vehicle itself or to the manufacture process—but it doesn’t happen overnight.

Shell:

A car is mostly steel, which is an alloy (not just a compound) of mainly iron and carbon. The difference between a compound and an alloy isn’t terribly technical. Compounds are two or more elements combined by whatever means, that bond chemically to form a new substance. Think of it more like baking a cake, where the results are not only more than the sum of the parts, but the entire nature of whole is transformed into something new. An alloy, on the other hand, results from introducing metals of different kinds into a molten steel. The effect is to produce something that is fundamentally the same as it would have been, except that it takes on properties from the foreign element. Think of it like adding high carbon steel to low carbon steel to produce a sword that in not brittle but is hard enough to hold an edge.

Steel is used for low cost as well as being resistant to corrosion. A car also contains an amount of aluminium which has steadily increased in price in recent decades. One main reason for price hikes in aluminium is the large amount of electricity used in it’s manufacture. More expensive renewable energy, plus more things (like cars) that run on electricity causes the price to skyrocket. Using aluminium is an attempt to make the car as light as it can be.

The shell of a car undergoes a phosphorous acid bath. Phosphorous acid is a compound of phosphorous, hydrogen and oxygen (all acids contain hydrogen, by the way). Although not the safest chemical to use it is has been granted Safer Choice Criteria, meaning that it is currently the lesser of the available evils.

Fuel:

Gas and engine oil is made of hydrocarbons which enter the environment as a result of car usage. The current thinking is that the best way to reduce gas emissions is to employ solar energy or electric power, but many European countries have invested in “clean diesel,” which is less processed than car gas and contains more energy. But again such an alteration won’t happen quickly. Engine oil may need also to be altered but what to alter it to is still a mystery.

A substantial change to the composition of gas occurred in about the 1990s when leaded petrol was phased out, even if it happened at different times in various states. The reason why lead (or to be more precise a chemical compound containing lead) was used since about 1925 to this decade is that it was felt that it was almost impossible to do otherwise. Frank Howard said that lead was a “Gift from God” and as with everything else it’s hard to change the establishment.

Engines:

Though an engine is all about converting chemical compounds many do not stop and think what chemicals are in the actual engine itself. A number of the parts are plastics, including flow passages and molded composite parts. Luckily in recent years plastic materials have been replaced by a safer metal.

There is extensive research going into the use of ceramics in engines. Sounds a bit crazy but the Japanese are doing pretty cutting-edge things with ceramics that are superior in weight to strength ratio, until they hit certain temperatures. The Jury is out, but…

car-2176946_1920

Tires:

Rubber which makes the tires as well as various items in the car is mostly carbon and oxygen but also contains trace elements of Zinc, sulfur and other elements. Rubber can’t really be described as environmentally sound though. On one hand rubber does decompose, on the other hand it takes about 50 years to decompose.

There is also Silicon in rubber, as well as in the car’s windows. In order to stop squeaky noises, Silicon is also used as it makes an ideal lubricant. It shouldn’t be applied to the rubber part of the door but to the metallic part.

Exhaust:

The majority of the material that comes out of a car exhaust is Nitrogen, with water vapor (or H2O ) and CO2 making about 13% each. Although these are considered non-toxic they still make a contribution to the greenhouse effect.

What might be the biggest surprise element in your car is copper! There’s a lot more copper in your car than you probably expect because it’s an element of the braking system. If you didn’t have copper in the car, you’d have problems.

In conclusion:

You don’t think of a car as a bundle of chemicals but it is a factor in our environment. Car chemical improvement is a continuous process. Researchers want to replace current chemicals and substances with something “better.” Better means something safer, less impactful on environments, lighter, or maybe something most cost-efficient.

Advertisements

The Powerhouse of Fiat Chrysler

new-york-3822454_1920.jpg

(Editors Note: This post was started to be in the series of the American Story of the Car alongside Dodge and Ford, but although all these companies have become multinational, that seems to be the Chrysler model of business. As you’ll soon see, the make some good cars and have had success, but they’re harder to classify as an American car Company.)

Fiat Chrysler might be reminiscent of the Chrysler building in New York – huge, imposing and with a certain amount of style.  The cynic might also suggest that the Chrysler building has less wholesome things in common with the cars, such as being overpriced (in common with the rest of New York?) and a product of another era. But, as said above, this is a cynic’s view.

road-826965_1920.jpgThere a number of quite individualistic vehicles which come under the Fiat Chrysler brand, so how did it get to where it is?

The Fiat part of the company could be described as the oldest. The Fiat 4 HP sounds like it might be a twentieth century vehicle, maybe a SUV? But no, it was created in 1899 and looked more like a baby buggy than a modern Fiat car. A more noticeable thing is that it had no reverse gear, so parking would have been troublesome.

Standing for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (Italian Factory of Cars, Turin) Fiat soon became the biggest automobile manufacturer in Europe. In 1970 they were employing 100,000 people. As well as cars they have also built such items as railway carriages, farm tractors and planes. Outside Italy, the biggest base for Fiat is Brazil where it is described as the market leader in manufacture.

The Chrysler part took over from the Maxwell Company in 1925 when it was founded by Walter Chrysler. He spent his defining years working as a railway mechanic before going into the motor trade (his father was also a locomotive engineer). The company in turn took over such brand vehicles as Dodge, Jeep and Ram as well as Fargo Trucks. In the 1960s the brand was taking over the Spanish, French and British car companies.fiat-116497_1920.jpg

The takeover of Mitsubishi occurred in 1970s and in the late 1998 the company merged with Daimler-Benz . Both Daimler and Benz have a long history, Benz goes back to 1886 (before teaming up with the “more famous” Mercedes) while Daimler was spending that period of history converting stagecoaches with Wilhelm Maybach.

Although it was now a member of the Big Three companies, it didn’t stop Chrysler suffering losses in the crisis between 2008 and 2010 and had to be bailed out. This could be described as controversial; not all governments would top up their factories, especially for a non-nationalized company. A marketing slogan at the time was “Let’s Refuel America” but it seemed they were in need of a vital top up themselves…

The companies of Fiat and Chrysler were merged in May 2014. There is still a huge variety in vehicles under the label – foreign cars such as the Maserati and Lancia, as well as more American cars such as the Jeep or the Ram van. What they lose in a complete brand image, they make up for being all-encompassing.

What seems certain is that Fiat-Chrysler will continue to merge with and take over new car brands. It’s all about survival. And, in essence, finding what sort of car the American public wishes to own.

fiat-boat-car-77549_1920

Transporting Pets Safely

dog-1451448_1920

The main problem with pets in cars is the heat, as it can be raised to 20°F in around 10 minutes, and reach 30°F in about 20 minutes. It will take 60 minutes for the temperature to be 40°F hotter than outside.

But that’s not the only pet/car conflict. Other concerns include allowing a dog to ride in the back of a pick-up truck, as dogs can easily fall or jump from this area and will be killed on impact.

loading-652314_1920.jpgThough often not fatal, the injuries to your pet can be severe. One possible countermeasure is a tether, but it’s not a perfect solution and many home-brew solutions create a risk of tangling or dragging your canine behind the vehicle. It’s much better to invest in a kennel for your pet, which will require some kind of protection from the elements.

Oddly, not all states have banned dogs riding in the back of a pick-up truck. As far as animal safety is concerned, it should be Rule 1.

Another concern is a pets ability to distract a driver, which can obviously lead to damaging more than just the pet. This is best solved by housing your pet in a kennel. If you’re noticing a theme here, you are correct, in general pets should be in some kind of carrier while they are in the car.

Qualities of a Good Kennel

It should be large enough for the pet to both stand up and sit down in, and even turn around. Make sure it’s well ventilated. It is worthwhile trying out the pet in the carrier first before embarking on the trip. The carrier should be secured so that it doesn’t move around too much.

Open Windows

Letting a dog stick it’s head out the window used to be common but it’s not a good idea. There is the risk of them being injured by objects being thrown out of other cars, rocks kicked up from the road, or by signs and tree branches.

That’s just the risk to your pets, in reality, the cause of people no longer letting dogs have their heads out the window is that we’re paying so much more for our cars. If you do drive with the window down be sure to get waterproof seat covers.

Car Training your Pet

The first trip that you take your pet on shouldn’t be too long, just to get them used to traveling in the car. After traveling in the vehicle a few times the animal will become calmer and more suited to long journeys.

Note: Some animals, like some humans, will suffer from car sickness and never adjust to riding in a vehicle. You’ll need to get medicine from your vet in order to transport these pets.

What to Bring

Whether it’s a long road trip or a day excursion, you’ll need to bring some items with you. Including…a food bowl, waste scoop and plastic bags. Think about the animal’s medication too and you might even like to create a pet first aid kit. Finally, don’t forget their favorite toy.

Traveling with Pets

Pets that don’t typically run away from their yard sometimes wander off when in public parks or hiking trails. For security purposes it helps if your pet is microchipped. For longer trips, a travel tag will also be of assistance to you.

41Tjhr3MyyL._AC_

If you are traveling between states it is a good idea to bring documentation of the pet’s rabies vaccination even if some states don’t require those details. Just to be safe.

Carry bottled water when traveling with a pet, especially on very hot days. Your pet can’t reach a drinking fountain, and don’t take for granted that you’ll have access to adequate hydration for your pet.

 

Best of the Web: Mercedes Concept Avatar


There are many questions one could ask about the Avatar-inspired concept car that Mercedes-Benz unveiled Monday night at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show. Why did the company think this was the best way to highlight its sustainability goals? How much of the ideas and technology in the car will ever translate to the road? And why Avatar?

Story Link

What’s News: Sony E-car?

Will we get the chance to drive the EV in Gran Turismo Sport?

We usually associate the Sony brand with the Walkman music player, the Vaio laptops, Bravia TVs or the PlayStation gaming console. While the tech giant does have a bunch of new products to show at CES this year from its typical area of expertise, the Tokyo-based company is also displaying something only very few expected – a car. It’s called the Vision-S and takes the shape of a sleek EV with a highly advanced autonomous driving system and a design that might make you think of a mashup between a Porsche Taycan and a Lucid Air.

Created primarily to showcase what Sony can bring to the table in terms of automotive technologies, the showcar has been developed in collaboration with big names such as Nvidia, Continental, Bosch, ZF, and Qualcomm. The zero-emissions sedan is equipped with no fewer than 33 sensors to detect people and objects not just outside of the car, but also inside that modern four-seat cabin with individual rear seats and giant glass roof.

Story Link

Marriage Cars

wedding-929289_1920

Everyone knows or should know that when it comes to the big bucks, look at things like weddings. If you’re in the car business, this rule of thumb still applies. Rather than a more generic car rental or occasion car rental business. Although many of these companies are international, you can find different companies by stating your home city or the venue city you hope to get married in.

Compare wedding car rental firms; one in New York, one in Orlando and finally one in Texas. In New York ads feature brands such as Ferrari, Rolls Royce and Porsche. It is all about the luxurious experience, in the Big Apple. Orlando, however, uses a wider range such as motorcycle escorts and golf carts as well as limousines and sedans. Texas wedding car specialist have a larger selection than the one in New York, and included vehicles like Trolley buses and “San Francisco style” buses.

antique-16050_1920Smaller wedding car rental specialists stock vehicles for rustic wedding, which begs the question, are big players are missing a trick here?”

There is always space for novelty, for instance having your new surname on the license plate. The biggest place for novelty, and it goes without saying, is Las Vegas. It is not that hard to find companies which will escort you in monster limos (aka presidential limos), stretch trucks, English style Double Decker buses, vintage cars or even horse and cart. The weirdest transportation found for a Las Vegas event is a zip-wire, which begs the question: Why?

But going back to cars, an important insider tip is that they all seem to have cars in stock that you can’t find looking through their websites. It’s most likely the result of not keeping up inventory, but the lesson here is call or visit.

stretch-limousine-2714963_1920.jpgAnother helpful hint is to verify that the car you pick up to use is the car you selected online. Even if you’re happy with the switch see if you can get a partial refund. It is important that the driver’s gratuity can be part of the total invoice of your bill – helpful when you sort out your tax bill.

Additional time is possible, but may will add up. For example, one business quoted $175-$200 per hour. So, if your occasion goes on to the small hours or even continues over several days (as some weddings might do, especially for instance Indian weddings) this could send prices rocketing.

One factor some companies think of and others don’t is the addition of large umbrellas. This is a life saver in many cases. Ask if they’ll supply them if you suspect rain, if they don’t bring them yourself.

If you are getting married, congratulations on the happy event, however you get to and from the church, chapel or whatever…

 

The 2019 Car Awards

knowledge-4382209_1920

It’s been a strange year for cars. They might even need image boost. The car industry might do well to hire an image consultant. These awards could focus on greener vehicles and ditch the gas guzzlers, but the truth is the gas guzzlers will remain popular for some years to come. So The Kicker will focus our awards on a wider spectrum of vehicles (small cars, electric and hybrids, and more.)  It’s award opening time once more.

The best-selling car of 2019 was again the Ford F series pickup but what is new is the runner up—Dodge Ram Pickup. 3.7% of all car sales in the US were this specific car. The Dodge massively overhauled its Ram pickup look, which they describe as “rugged” and “premium.” Perhaps they’ve overhauled their sales and marketing efforts as well, because they have closed the gap with Ford. But it seems like the Ford F series pickup will be the winner next year as well, it’s almost a done deal.

The best-selling small car of 2019 is the Volkswagen GTI, according to Usnews.com. It is described as having playful handling and sufficiently spacious for a number of family members and their cargo. It has a user-friendly infotainment system. It might be described as a combination between the VW and GTi worlds?

The most surprising car of 2018 is the BMW X7. BMW are best known for small cars of an athletic type whereas this car is more of an SUV. It’s a huge monster of a car but is easy to handle thanks to responsive steering.

The most powerful Sedan of 2019 is the Dodge Charger, as with last year we rely on the Kelley Blue Book for our information. There is a wide range of models, colors and engines so you can take your pick on what is right for you. But the distinct trim is noticeable and thematically consistent.

The best-selling electric car of 2019 is another BMW model, the BMW5. It seems to be getting technology and prestige into a compact space. Added to this are driver aids and the Apple CarPlay smartphone. Wifi is included in the premium package. (This is also according to the Kelley Blue Book.)

For the best-selling hybrid, the winner this year is the Honda Insight. The style of the new Insight has gone from a hatchback to a more sedan look. The greatest selling point is its fuel economy, whether you are using electric or gas power. This car performed excellently on a special test track as well as on back roads, according Edmonds website. Sounds like interesting work to us, where do you sign up?

The special prize goes to Tax Rebates on Electric Vehicles, though it’s a bit of a wooden spoon. When in effect in the US it successfully pushed people into taking the leap to all electric. At the moment Tesla is the biggest winner of tax rebates, especially in India, where Tesla looks to be the number one supplier to one of the biggest markets and the country plans to be all-electric by 2030. China plans to have 9% of its cars electric thanks to fuel subsidies. A Cleaner Vehicle Grant began in the UK in April.

Once again, thanks for attending the awards.