This is what I have available as of the current date. I would be happy to present any of these to any interested group. Just contact me.
Name: Ethanol Experiments (set 12 – final, 1-24-11) (15 slides)
Summary: After characterization on gasoline during 2005, an old VW beetle was converted in October 2006, at no cost, to use E-85 ethanol fuel, and later tested as a “flex-fuel” on blends from E-15 to E-57 in 2010. An old farm tractor was also converted to E-85 with flex fuel potential. In 2007, tests began on blends from E-15 to E-45 in an unmodified pickup truck. Not long after, multiple pieces of unmodified 4-stroke lawn and garden equipment were operated routinely on E-22, then E-34 blends. In 2010, an unmodified 1998 Nissan Sentra was operated routinely on blends from E-20 to E-35, and once accidentally near E-50. Technical data of a very favorable nature were obtained on the truck and the VW. How-to information for do-it-yourself blend operations with unmodified vehicles is also included.
Name: Fuel Savings Advice (12 slides)
Summary: This short presentation offers both technical truth and practical advice for anyone interested in saving fuel, independent of any switch to alternative fuels. The big items are matching vehicle to mission, and carpooling if possible. A smaller item is a national speed limit, but, surprisingly, 65 mph will do as much good as 55 mph. This is because of the tradeoff between road load reductions and efficiency losses as speeds decrease, an effect not considered when the old 55 mph limit was imposed in 1974.
Name: “One Book” Presentation (18 slides)
Summary: This was prepared as a part of the Waco ‘One Book” project, spring 2009, related to the Homer Hickam book “Rocket Boys”. The presentation was to explain how and why I became interested in engineering, and what I did during my career, which included rocket and missile work. Many old aircraft, rocket, and other technical-item photographs were found and included, some quite rare. These were things that were simply “part of my life”, starting in the 50’s.
Name: Asteroid Results from Spain (26 slides)
Summary: I presented a poster paper at the 1st IAA international conference on planetary defense, held April 27-30, 2009, in Granada, Spain. This conference dealt with detection of, and mitigation of, asteroids and comets that may impact the earth. Detection efforts are in progress, but incomplete, largely for lack of funding. Concepts for mitigation schemes were discussed, but with as-yet little real development work, again largely due to lack of funding. Civil defense coordination and warning mechanisms for this international problem do not yet exist. Not discussed at the meeting: propulsion to support such schemes does not yet exist, although I identified some promising ideas abandoned long ago. Some slides of pictures taken while touring Granada are included at the end.
Name: Global Warming (vers.B 14 slides, obs. Vers.A 13 slides)
Summary: The earth’s climate is warming, as evidenced by polar sea ice thinning and glacier retreat on land. Icecaps on land could melt, causing massive sea level rise. Rainfall patterns (and agriculturally-fertile zones) could shift. Independent of “fault”, the options are to act, or not to act, in two areas. These are attempted mitigation, and coping with massive change. Concepts for mitigation are currently under public discussion and debate, but concepts for coping are not. The decision to act, or not, should be made on facts and logic, not politics and belief-preferences. Some experimental facts are given, and some recommendations made.
Name: Peak Oil and Coal (15 slides)
Summary: The empirical “Hubbert curve” model for resource depletion is presented and explained. This includes its proper application and its limitations. Hubbert’s successful 1956 prediction with this model, of peak US oil production in 1970, is verified by historical US production data. The relative impact of Alaskan oil is included in the data. An opinion is presented regarding planetary “peak oil”, and its implications. Coal production in the UK followed a similarly-shaped curve, so the Hubbert curve model can probably be used for planetary “peak coal” predictions. An opinion is presented regarding that scenario, although the dates are less certain for coal.
Name: How Things Burn (27 slides, initial version)
Summary: This presentation covers the “kitchen physics” and “kitchen chemistry” of how various gaseous, liquid, and solid fuels burn with air. The intended audience could be laypersons, or engineering students just getting started in this discipline. To the classic “fire triangle” is added (1) mixture limits and autoignition behavior, (2) how fuel phase changes interact with combustion, (3) three basic “burn rate” regimes, (4) the influence of theoretical thermochemistry predictions, (5) an explanation of how piston engines really work and their problems, (6) the “combustion aerodynamics” of several through-flow combustors, (7) how pool and pile fires really work, and the “firestorm”, (8) solid coal and carbon particles as the odd slow-burning case, (9) the radiation physics of fires, (10) simple models for real through-flow combustors, and (11) practical effects with gas-solid slurry fuels. (Emissions phenomena and some practical case studies will be added to the next version. Future versions will likely include rockets, and various kinds of explosives.)
Name: Ramjet-Assisted Staged-Rocket Launch Vehicle (20 slides v.11-18-09)
Summary: This documents the results of a back-of-the-envelope three-stage vehicle sizing study that trades higher blended performance for the higher structural fractions that allow true re-usability. Subsonic combustion ramjets with integral boosters are added to the second stage, and burned during both first and second stage operation to improve performance substantially. The third stage is a plain rocket. This is the kind of design that could result from a “clean sheet of paper” start, looking at technologies not currently “traditional” for space launch.
Name: “Lob-Up” Nuke Launch (18 slides 11-30-09)
Summary: This documents the results of a back-of-the-envelope two-stage vehicle sizing study that explores how to safely use nuclear thermal rocketry for surface launch. The design takes advantage of the ramjet-assist results to trade high performance for reusable structure in the lower stage, which lofts the upper stage and payload vertically out of the atmosphere. The nuclear upper stage then fires horizontally from its inertial apogee to reach orbital velocity with the payload. It never returns to earth, and its exhaust plume never enters the atmosphere.
Name: Carrier Plane Launch (19 slides 12-18-09)
Summary: This documents the results of a back-of-the-envelope vehicle sizing study that uses a horizontal takeoff and landing hypersonic airplane as the first stage of a three-stage launch vehicle to orbit. The carrier aircraft is a scale-up and extension of the technologies in the SR-71, and the design staging point is M6 at 100,000 ft altitude. The upper two stages are simplified LH2-LOX rockets, arranged in a triple cluster for easy carriage under the airplane. These stages feature heat shields, pivoting wings, and small turbojets for flyback as 3 separate items. Final circularization and de-orbit of the 3rd stage is with storable hypergolic propellants.
Name: Oil Prices, Recessions, and the War (18 slides 2-5-11)
Summary: Using gasoline price history data, this document explores the connection between fuel prices and middle east foreign policy issues, and between fuel prices and economic events. Both monopoly cartel pricing effects and supply-demand market effects are explored, including the possible effects of planetary “peak oil” just beginning to crop up. The feasibility and effects are explored of displacing (with domestic alternatives) about one third of the petroleum used for all liquid transportation fuels. (This presentation replaces “The Dark Side of Oil” as an expanded update.)
Name: The Mars Mission Design (30 slides 5-7-11)
Summary: This mission and vehicle concept design study explores what could be done if one presumes a “clean sheet of paper” approach. Existing or very near-term technologies and hardware are “fair game”, but no restrictions to “legacy” concepts or hardware, or to existing contractor infrastructure, are imposed. The most startling result is that a super-heavy-lift launch rocket is not necessary to send men to Mars, at substantially less risk than was accepted for the Apollo moon missions. The second most startling result is that the direct launch costs can be quite “low”, compared to Apollo or the Shuttle. This is with no technology or hardware “breakthroughs” assumed for launch. It does assume carrying through with two of three nuclear propulsion technologies from 1959-1973 times.
Contact: Gary W. Johnson, PE, PhD