Engineers at Ohio State University are developing a computer control system that improves the fuel efficiency of hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles. Road tests on a Chevy suburban SUV show a 50% increase in fuel efficiency. "The work demonstrates that energy-efficient hybrid cars can retain the high-performance feel of traditional gas-powered vehicles," says Giorgio Rizzoni, professor of mechanical engineering. Based on numerical simulations and in-vehicle tests, the engineers created a computerized control system that relies on algorithms for optimizing the power split between engine and electric motor. For more information, go to www.osu.edu.
With a better understanding of materials’ response to load and temperature, researchers could potentially use the knowledge to improve design. The research could even help geologists studying plate tectonics.
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