Discuss how internal combustion engines, diesel engines, electric (and hybrid) vehicles, and fuel cells produce energy. Then plan a road trip and determine the best vehicle for the route.
- Carbon Rod
- Zinc strip
- Empty spice container
- Hot glue gun
- Haynes Build Your Own Internal Combustion Engine kit
- Horizon Fuel Cell kit
- Computer with internet connection
What presenters do
Comparison of Vehicle Technology:
- Use the “Haynes Build Your Own Internal Combustion Engine” kit or watch a short video clip to understand the 4-stroke engine cycle (intake, compression, power, and exhaust). Discuss how a stronger explosion inside the engine’s cylinder will make the pistons move faster.
- Compare a diesel engine’s compression ignition with an internal combustion engine.
- Discuss the types of fuels that can be used in an internal combustion engine or diesel engine.
- Build a simple battery (Instructables Guide) or watch a simple video clip to understand the flow of electrons from the negative to the positive terminal.
- Discuss how electric (and hybrid) vehicles store energy in batteries. Then, use the Horizon Fuel Cell kit or watch a video clip to understand how hydrogen and oxygen are turned into water and produce electricity in the process.
What visitors/students do
- Plan a road trip and determine the best vehicle for the route. The choices include a vehicle with a traditional internal combustion engine, a hybrid vehicle, a flex fuel vehicle, and an all-electric vehicle. Consider the type of route you’ll take and research the refueling/recharging stations along the way. Will you be able to complete the journey without running out of fuel/energy?
Conclusion/Follow up Questions
- What fuels are needed for the different types of engines?
- Which engine would you want to use?
Next Generation Science Standards:
- 4- PS3: Energy
- A: Definitions of Energy – The faster a given object is moving, the more energy it possesses
- B: Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer – Energy is present wherever there are moving objects, sound, light, or heat. Light and electric currents transfer energy.
- C: Relationship between Energy and Forces – When objects collide, the contact forces transfer energy so as to change the object’s motions.
- D: Energy in Chemical Processes and Everyday Life- The expression “produce energy” typically refers to the conversion of stored energy into a desired form for practical use.
- Convenience: How easy is it to refuel your vehicle? Are refueling stations located close to your route?
- Affordability: How much does a vehicle using this power source cost? Howe expensive is it to refuel or recharge along your route?
- Reliability: Will this power source work well along your route? Is this power source commonly available for the type of vehicle that you will be using?
- Environmental Effects: What are the potentially harmful effects of extracting the power used in you vehicle?