@Xjandin: I think nearly everyone agrees that a working V8 engine on this scale is an exciting development. But as for putting valleys on the cylinder liners, that's nothing new. Plateau honing has been around pretty much forever. It's not quite clear from the article what's new about the honing (other than the scale).
Ditto that Xjandin. I thank the Thor daily that RF scales down nicely. Forget what the naysayers think. Another 'for what purpose' is I had a Vette that would do 120mph and live in an area where the max speed limit is 55mph. For what purpose? No purpose, I just loved a car that would slam me into the seat from a dead stop. Today I drive a 'mild' Mustang GT convertible. Old age is setting in.
But his engine is indeed awesome. An engineering WOW.
This is TOTALLY AWESOME! Engineering at it's best. Find a difficult challenge and then find an innovative solution. The idea of putting valleys on the cylinder walls is genious. I wouldn't have thought that the molecular size of oil would matter or that oil would be the limiting factor.
As for the detractors, time to start living again and seeing the beauty in the world around us and the fun and excitement of exploration. I have no doubt that this innovative design will be used in many more 'lubrication intensive' designs.
I bought my 91 Honda CRX for 5 grand a decade ago. Spent a couple of grand on over the years, great car. Something like this looks like throwing good time after bad, unless you happen to be Jay Leno. Now if he owns one that is a different story...
I agree, we never know at first where our ideas will lead. I think it is a good strategy to "waste" a certain amount of time just exploring mentally and building a few prototypes. It's also a lot of fun and you never know where the ideas and techniques you find will be useful.
As for applications, I would think that improving battery technology especially energy density would make electric motors a better choice since they are so much simpler mechanically. The complexity of a single cylinder/piston subassembly in any internal combustion engine is greater than the entire electric motor of similar size.
The power curve is much flatter with loads of torque immediately. The Tesla cars have only one gear, and reach 60 in 3.9, 5.9 or 6.5 seconds depending on how much money you put into the battery size.
This reminds me of the change from steam to diesel in locomotives. Newer tech is simpler and costs less, but the old school stuff is more fun to work with, and easier to understand because you can see different parts pushing and pulling.
It's a cute project, and I understand perfectly how he must have felt when it worked. I wondered how a teflon engine coating such as Slick 50 would work here? I put that into the 1.8 liter motor in my Pontiac Firebird and got 15% better mileage and drove that car well into the 200k range, 230 IIRC,
>> he hopes to scale up his runs to between 150 and 180 of the units, which cost between $5,600 and $7,500 each.
This gives a hint into the purpose of the effort. A lot of us think it's worthwhile simply because it's cool, but there appear to be people that think it's cool enough to trade their money to own one. This makes the effort both a cool and practical use of time/resources.