Automobiles are wheeled motor vehicles that are used for transportation. Most definitions say that automobiles run on roads and seat one to eight people. They have four wheels and are primarily used for transportation. While the definitions of automobiles differ slightly, they all have many of the same basic characteristics. Here are some important facts about automobiles.
Development of internal combustion engines
The development of internal combustion engines in automobiles is a fairly recent innovation, with some significant technological achievements. It took nearly a decade to make it feasible for a motor vehicle to run on gasoline. A number of factors contributed to the slow adoption of motor vehicles in the United States, including the expansiveness of the nation, lack of good roads, and a highly developed urban transit system. However, the mass production of gasoline-powered automobiles in the late 1800s eventually brought reasonably priced, efficient vehicles to the marketplace. The cars were easy to maintain and relatively quick, and were convenient for long distance travel.
The internal combustion engine is a heat engine, as the chemical energy released during combustion results in heat transfer to the engine. While internal combustion engines can approximate the Carnot cycle, their thermal efficiency is limited by their lower and upper operating temperatures. The upper operating temperature is largely restricted by thermal limits and auto-ignition resistance of the fuel.
Development of transmissions
The primary function of transmission systems in automobiles is to transfer torque from the engine to the road wheels. These systems have multiple sub-systems and components, which work together to provide optimal performance. Transmissions are typically designed for efficient operation and are lightweight, but some errors in the design can compromise their effectiveness. One common example of a design error is the pitch error, in which the gear wheel’s teeth move slightly in front of the spline, which can lead to loss of power. Earlier transmission designs also had other problems, including excessive noise, heat, and inefficiency.
Transmissions in automobiles have changed significantly over the years. The first transmissions to be produced in the early 1900s used a hydraulic system. Several decades later, the Maybach gearbox and Peugeot driveline were introduced. In both cases, the transmissions used a taper synchronizer to assist in the movement of gears. These early designs had problems, however, and eventually a simple engine and differential unit was introduced.
Impact of automobiles on American culture
The impact of automobiles on American culture was far-reaching, stretching from the development of the automobile itself to the ways in which people travelled. The introduction of the automobile allowed people to take vacations and go shopping in cities, making them more mobile than ever. It also changed the role of women. While a city housewife in 1925 might not have needed a car, by the mid-20th century she needed one to take her children to school or shop for groceries.
Automobiles changed the landscape of American society, transforming cities and towns into thriving industries. The development of automobile manufacturing helped create jobs in industries like glass, steel, and rubber processing. It also opened up new opportunities in areas like Texas, Oklahoma, and California. The demand for oil helped fuel the growing automobile industry, transforming the nation from a coal-based to petroleum-driven economy.
Impact of automobiles on the environment
Automobiles are among the most energy-intensive types of transportation and the impact on the environment is significant. While only a small portion of CO2 emissions is released during the manufacturing process, the majority comes from fuel consumption. Furthermore, the car industry consumes huge amounts of raw materials and generates significant waste. Additionally, automobiles generate nuisance pollution and traffic congestion and take up over 13,000 square miles of land in the U.S.
Automobiles are the biggest source of pollution, contributing 20% of all greenhouse gases in the United States. This makes the United States the second largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, and was for decades the leading one.