Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Discovery Of Dr. Higgs Boson

Generally speaking, I don’t get sucked into social trends. Much of my clothing collection from high school remains in use, as it still functions as clothing, so why would I discard it? I don’t drink soda; it tastes amazing, but it also destroys your teeth. Much like Spock, I generally base my decisions on logic, often without putting much emphasis on feelings, for better or worse. 

To this extent, my Subaru Crosstrek did not have a name until recently. I often don’t feel the bond that so many others claim to have with their machines, but rather an admiration for what the machine is capable of, and how the machine is capable of achieving desired results. Before buying my car, like any classic soulless engineer I drew up a Pugh Matrix to determine which vehicle best suited my needs. Of the six options, the Crosstrek offered the most ground clearance, longest driven range, most front legroom, lowest depreciation, best estimated reliability, and all with a manual transmission and the second best cargo space of the group. To be fair, I also do like the shade of blue it comes in. I’m not that soulless. 

The Subaru was a numbers based decision, as numbers have always been the only thing I’ve been good at. My reading is poor, and at this point you’ve likely noticed the same of my writing. The Crosstrek isn’t the most exciting car out of the six vehicles I test drove, but like the math portion of my SAT scores, it did win the numbers. Need to make it long distances with lots of cargo? Need to get off the beaten path and up a sketchy backroad to a trailhead? Trying to hit the ski slopes up an icy mountain traverse? Perhaps I do have a strong bond with my car, as it handles everything I throw at it. So now it needs a name… 

According to an eBay Motors survey, nearly 40% of American millennials name their cars. Naming things isn’t a strong suit of mine (my cat’s name is Bucket), so this time I left it to chance with the Mobil 1™ "Name-u-lator." Simply put, the Name-u-lator will provide you a name for your car, and you can get a free personalized license plate frame (picture below) simply by purchasing 5 quarts of Mobil 1 oil at your local AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, or Pep Boys. After answering a short list of questions, the Name-u-lator had pegged my car’s name: Dr. Higgs. Higgs? As in the Higgs Boson? Spock would be proud. 

As a dramatic oversimplification for those of you unfamiliar with the Higgs Boson, this so called “God Particle” brings a clearer explanation to our existence. The theory starts with the idea that  our universe is filled with Higgs particles. These particles are everywhere: they surround us and are inside of us. Brian Cox, physicist and apparently my celebrity look alike based on YouTube comments, puts it best: “the things that make up you and me, and our bodies, and everything we can see, are bumping into [Higgs particles], and in that process they acquire mass, which means they’re solid, which ultimately means that we exist.” Our planet earth, the sun, the stars, the screen you’re reading this on, the eyes you’re scanning with, and yes, even the matter that makes up my car - all of these things exist because of their interactions with Higgs particles throughout the universe. 

For some folks, cars are merely a device used to transport their mass from one location to another. For others, there’s a passion derived from the bond between man and machine - a bond that’s not so easy to see or define, much like the Higgs Boson. How appropriate then, that the Crosstrek be randomly named this? Dr. Higgs: the logical, data driven vehicle that accepts challenges ahead with an analytical approach void of emotion. May we both live long and prosper.

I’ll admit, I didn’t know what to expect when testing out the Name-u-lator. What tunnel would it take me through in discovering the name of my car and establishing a stronger connection? What is the name of your car, and what’s the story? Was your car nameless like mine? Consider using the Name-u-lator and embrace on a new beginning as I have. For more information, check out video below: Loved Cars Have Names.

Huge thanks to Mobil 1 for sponsoring this post and providing a meaningful name to my ride! 

Related Links:
Mobil 1: mobil1.us/frameme  

Legal Disclaimer: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of ExxonMobil. The opinions and text are all mine.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Mystery Car Review

I’m very excited to be driving something I’ve never reviewed before!
Subscribe for new videos every Wednesday! - https://goo.gl/VZstk7

Education comes standard. The Ultimate Teaching Machine. Imported From Carolina. I am professional grade. Education that excites. First Man. Then Whiteboard. Math. It’s what makes Engineering Explained, Engineering Explained. Vroom Vroom.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Can A Tire Have High Grip And Low Rolling Resistance?

Can a tire have high grip and a low rolling resistance? I talk with Michelin at the Shell Eco-marathon Americas to find out! When it comes to designing for efficiency, there are five major forces which a vehicle needs to overcome: aerodynamics, internal friction, gravity,  inertia, and finally, rolling resistance. 

Rolling resistance is the energy consumed by a tire as it travels over a specific distance. Energy is lost as heat when the tire deforms on the road, creating the contact patch, and then returns to its original state as the tire continues to rotate. How much energy is lost is a result of the tire’s hysteresis. 
The goal is to reduce rolling resistance while still maintaining grip. 

Silica compounds, first invented by Michelin, have low energy losses in the low frequency range, meaning low rolling resistance, but high energy losses in the high frequency range, meaning they have high grip. As a result, it truly is possible to have tires which exhibit low rolling resistance and yet all the while high levels of grip. Michelin is one of many partners that plays an important role in the Shell Eco-marathon, dedicating a manufacturing plant for two days per year just for making the ultra-low rolling resistance tires used by the teams.

The Shell Eco-Marathon is a competition where students around the globe compete to design, build, and test vehicles with the goal of creating a vehicle that goes the furthest distance using as little energy as possible. Big thanks to Shell for having me out to the event and sponsoring this video!! Check out the Shell media outlets below:


Saturday, December 12, 2015

2016 Subaru WRX STI Series.HyperBlue - Review & Test Drive

2016 Subaru WRX STI Series HyperBlue Limited Edition Review & Test Drive. The 2016 Subaru WRX STI Hyperblue is a limited edition with a 2.5L boxer engine producing 305 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of torque. This is sent through a 6-speed manual transmission to a driver controlled center differential, DCCD. The STI features three limited slip differentials, with a front helical LSD and a rear Torsen LSD. Major changes for the 2016 model year versus the previous generation include a more rigid chassis, stiffer suspension, torque vectoring, different seats, a nicer infotainment system, more rear leg room, a flat bottomed steering wheel, and a tighter steering ratio.

Related Videos:
2015 Subaru WRX STI - https://youtu.be/Ye_ALPQqYLg
2014 Subaru STI - https://youtu.be/X2uUW3r8YHM
2015 Subaru WRX - https://youtu.be/dVruWDgtTPg


Saturday, November 21, 2015

2016 Mazda Mazda6 Grand Touring - Review & Test Drive

2016 Mazda Mazda6 I Grand Touring Review. The 2016 Mazda Mazda 6 is a mid-size sedan capable of 40 mpg on the highway. The Mazda6 is powered by a SkyActiv gasoline 2.5L engine producing 184 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque, routed through a 6 speed automatic transmission to the front tires. Features include 19 inch alloy wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers, heated side mirrors, heated front seats, rear lip spoiler, 8-way power drivers seat, leather-trimmed sport seats, bluetooth, paddle shifters, rearview camera, advanced keyless entry, 60/40 split folding rear seats, Bose 11 speaker sound system, heads up display, LED daytime running, fog, and taillights, power moonroof, Mazda Radar cruise control, I-ELOOP, lane departure warning, and active grill shutters. 

The Mazda6 has many superlatives as far as how efficient this vehicle is in comparison to all of the other vehicles which I’ve tested. First off, it has the highest highway fuel economy rating of any of the purely gasoline vehicles which I’ve tried out, at 40 miles per gallon. This also gives it the second highest range of any vehicle I’ve tested, at over 650 miles assuming 40 miles per gallon. At an estimated $1,400 per year, it has the lowest annual fuel cost of any non-hybrid vehicle I’ve tested. It’s the most aerodynamic vehicle I’ve tested to date, tying with the GT-R’s 0.26 drag coefficient, however having a smaller frontal area. This is also accomplished with better than average ground clearance for a sedan, at 6.7 inches. The Mazda6, along with the MX-5, has the highest compression ratio of any gasoline engine I’ve tested at 13:1, however unlike the Miata the 6 only recommends regular octane fuel. Finally, the Mazda has the best smog rating of any vehicle I’ve tested, scoring a 9 out of 10, meaning very low nitrogen oxide or hydrocarbon emissions. 

MSRP As Tested: $33,695

Related Videos:
2016 Mazda Miata MX-5 - https://youtu.be/Wh-BldfPuXo
2016 Mazda MX-5 Engineering - https://youtu.be/W9SIzxuYJWI
2016 Mazda CX-5 - https://youtu.be/jbZham9jtYc


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mitsubishi Evolution X - AWD System (S-AWC, ACD, AYC)

How does the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo's S-AWC system work? How does the active center differential work? How does the active yaw control work? What are the different drive modes such as tarmac, gravel, and snow for? What is the torque split of the center differential?

The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution features a sophisticated AWD system, using an active center differential to split torque between the front and rear, a helical limited slip differential for the front axle, and active yaw control in the rear as a result of a torque vectoring differential. 

Related Review Videos:
2015 Evo X Review - https://youtu.be/THJOpVbuRa4
Evo vs STI Review - https://youtu.be/nSWeYLzUq0I
2015 STI Review - http://youtu.be/Ye_ALPQqYLg

Related AWD Videos:
Torsen LSD - http://youtu.be/wiq1Rk5wqds
Viscous LSD - http://youtu.be/w2bRb17jJ1U
Clutch Type LSD - http://youtu.be/ujsxq9WBllU
Torque Vectoring Differential - https://youtu.be/qwwFZAbYGW0
Differentials: http://youtu.be/Hv0jYDWp0ZA
Open vs. Locked Diff: http://youtu.be/gwJEU7p9U2Q
Open vs. Locked Diff Part 2: http://youtu.be/_HOa0aRZYpw
Multi-plate Clutch: http://youtu.be/SQvFg4WbdZ4
AWD - https://youtu.be/UL9LmT3fzbQ
4WD - https://youtu.be/ZN6xHc7Nz-E
Transfer Case - https://youtu.be/K1qj8dHTmP4


Friday, November 13, 2015

10 Awesome Car Parts From SEMA - Specialty And Performance Parts Car Show

10 Awesome Car Parts at one of the World's Largest Car Shows: SEMA 2015. SEMA features some of the worlds most amazing cars and incredible aftermarket car parts. Walking the showroom floors, here are 10 parts I found to be particularly cool from an engineering standpoint, including a variable twin-scroll turbo,  exterior gas tanks, external damper reservoirs with fins, the Arial Atom's pushrod suspension, top mounted radiators, exhaust muffler diverter valves, electronically controlled dampers, crystalline IR blocking window film, a burning man car's suspension and inboard brakes, and finally an ice filled barrel intercooler.