Theory, and Directions Further
Some friends, most of all the extraordinary Clive Apps
, have contributed quite a lot of interesting theory as to what exactly is happening. We will develop evidence in support as we can. Some interesting items:
- Charging the air-fuel mixture as we are doing, is very likely to increase dispersion, which can have the result of increasing burn efficiency and consistency.
- There is likely to be a peak somewhere, after which the charge causes not only dispersion, but attracts the mixture to the metals in the combustion chamber, leaving a lean-burning area in the middle. This may be detectable by spotting a large amount of CO in the exhaust.
- Testing using all available sensors and adding additional ones, e.g., exhaust gas temperature, will be quite helpful in getting hard numbers for effects of the setup. Tailpipe sniffers will be investigated, possibly with the help of school laboratories.
Fourteen of the air chargers in the form in use, is probably close to a maximum for my engine compartment. I could put a lot more on, but not neatly! I have recently put in some very neat electrical connectors to minimize spaghetti-tangle, but then there's the space for all those little boxes...
One option might be to replace the existing units with more powerful ones. For just a few days on AliExpress, I did see a unit advertised as producing 125M/cm3, costing approximately US$15. (The current ones are rated at 30M/cm3.) This big one ran on 110VAC only, and I found myself pondering a VAC-->VDC inverter under the hood, wondering about heat tolerance. But it vanished from the web site within a few days.
So then my thoughts went to building my own. Here's the test rig:
The little black box on the left (notice the warning!) is an EMCO F40
, a component which takes 15VDC input and puts out 4000VDC output: DC to DC, quite the neat trick, not sure how it works, but possibly perfect for this, because I was able to obtain several independent reports (reportedly born of experience) stating that to minimize ozone and maximize ionization, 4000VDC is the desired. The output is clipped to an Amstat Industries eight-inch carbon fiber brush
, of a sort designed to take static charges off or out of things; kind of exactly the reverse of this application, but it seemed a good place to start, and Amstat was great to work with, unlike the other companies I contacted for this. The white block is craft foam I bought from Michael's, which tests as having a very high electrical resistance (for safety).
The most important challenge unmet so far, is measuring results of the above and similar experiments. There are very cheap devices being called "ionization meters" out there, less than $50, but their literature is clear, these are neither accurate nor precise. But very recently there have been a different variety which appear much better, for $135. One of those is on the way at this writing, we'll see how predictable the results are.
The description lacks most details, e.g., output power. But following the rabbit-trail just a bit, the above seems to be this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079YZYY11
And the details on the Amazon page are very interesting. The originals reportedly put out 30M/cm3 negative ions at standard testing distance; this thing, supposedly, puts out 1.9T (trillion!) negative ions per cubic centimeter at the same test distance.
That does seem high, but...worth a shot ☺ I can always shut the things off. So I bought two of them, mounted them outside and the 8" carbon-fiber brush inside (pix and more details on the site soon), and have been testing for some months now. When we calculate, we find that the twelve originals are theoretically putting out 360M/cm3 at test distance, which means that the new ones should be producing (1900 * 2)/360 = 10.5 times as much as the first twelve combined. I am definitely not seeing results of this magnitude that I can identify, though certainly I noticed some. In general I am taking this to mean that either my 8" carbon-fiber brush isn't emitting as we'd prefer, or there is some sort of saturation point reached.
Either may be true. And related may be the fact that we're still delivering the ions pre-filter. A post-filter delivery would certainly be interesting, but I'd want a lot of assurances towards preventing anything evil being sucked into the engine, and that gets sticky. By many reports, the negative ions leave the device by way of sharp tips and edges of the business ends. So, perhaps something like a very rough-textured graphite plate replacing a 1x1" square of intake hose...? But on the other hand, it was pointed out to me recently, I do not know the mechanical properties of the bristles of the new brush! It is carbon, after all; is it easily smashable, grindable, engine-chewable without harm to the engine? Food for thought.