Compressed Air Powered Car

By Kelsey Kennedy and Kendall Tillman

Why We Chose Compressed Air as Our Source

We chose compressed air as our source because it seemed like an interesting and creative concept.

How Does a Compressed Air Powered Car Work?

The laws of physics dictate that uncont­ained gases will­ fill any given space. The easiest way to see this in action is to inflate a balloon. The elastic skin of the balloon holds the air tightly inside, but the moment you use a pin to create a hole in the balloon's surface, the air expands outward with so much energy that the balloon explodes. Compressing a gas into a small space is a way to store energy. When the gas expands again, that energy is released to do work. That's the basic principle behind what makes an compressed air car go.­

Speed/Acceleration of the Car

If the car traveled 1 mile in 2 minutes, we have to divide 60/2, to get 30, and then 30 times 1, to get 30 miles per hour. So the car goes 30 mph.

If the car accelerates 60 mph in 5 seconds, to find out how quickly it accelerates you have to divide 60 mph by 5 seconds; which gives you 12 mph each second. So if it accelerates at 12mph, this means each second it gets 12mph faster.

Speed Graph

Our graph showing the speed of our car.
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Pros of Compressed Air Powered Cars

  • Refueling can occur at home using an air compressor or at local service stations.
  • No pollutants are emitted.
  • The weight of the vehicle is greatly reduced. Many conventional components of the motor are not required.
  • Compressed air engines can greatly reduce the cost of producing these vehicles by approximately 20 percent. This is because there is no necessity to build many components, such as axles, transmissions, starter motor, mufflers, spark plugs, or cooling systems. This reduced manufacturing cost can then be passed on to the consumer.
  • There is no need for hazardous materials in these cars, such as gasoline or acids.
  • Lighter cars would cause less damage on roads.

Cons of Compressed Air Powered Cars

  • Energy is lost when the electrical energy gets converted into compressed air.
  • The air cools drastically when it is expanded in the engine. This could make the car susceptible to icing.
  • Though service stations may have special equipment to refuel the compressed air container in about three minutes, this might take considerably longer to do at home. It might take up to four hours.
  • The weight and price of many safety features such as airbags and ABS may lead manufacturers not to include them. In addition, the low rolling resistance tires do not grip the roads as well as regular tires.

Why We Chose this Design

We chose this design; a car low to the ground, sleek and curvy to minimize air resistance, with a sturdy inner roll-cage for protection without being bulky, so it would go as fast as possible and would also be safe.

Appealing the Consumer

The CAPC (Compressed Air Powered Car) is sleek and futuristic, while being sturdy and protective. Since the fuel you use for this car is practically air, fuel will cost next to nothing! This makes it appealing to the eyes and won't leave your wallet with an empty stomach!