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Cute Car

July 2nd, 2014 - 5:20 am

DIMPLES

Your next car might have dimples:

Golf balls are dimpled for a reason — they sail through the air just slowly enough that the uneven surface reduces drag, helping them fly farther than they might otherwise. Wouldn’t it be nice if your car could get that kind of aerodynamic boost? It might, if MIT’s newly developed morphable surface becomes a practical reality. The technology creates dimples on the fly by sucking the air out of a hollow ball with both a stiff, rubber-like skin on top and a soft material just below. The result is odd-looking to say the least, but it’s effective. It can wrinkle itself to cut down on air resistance when it’s traveling slowly, yet smooth itself out to minimize drag at high speed.

Vehicles would be the most likely to benefit from the concept, and researchers already foresee transportation whose panels dimple to improve your mileage.

Aesthetically I have to wonder if consumers would go for it. Would you trade that perfectly-reflective wax job for an extra MPG or two?

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All Comments   (16)
All Comments   (16)
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Yes, less waxing.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's a car with cellulite.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
The obvious market for a finish like this is commercial transport. Aesthtics don't count, it's all bottom line. No need to appeal to the fickle consumer.
Driverless cars, ditto. How much could FedEx save if they could replace their drivers with "package deliverers" who would simply carry a package to your door from a self-driving delivery truck?
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Based on aesthetics, nobody will buy it.

Based on the cost of repairing body damage, nobody will buy it.

A ~10% increase in economy can be achieved via other methods (and already has been, many times over) for those sorry individuals who care about such things.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
"a hollow ball with both a stiff, rubber-like skin on top and a soft material just below."

I assume the soft material is on top of a body of steel or whatever used for a car body. Guess it's harder to damage a rubber-like skin than a steel skin. Besides, who will notice a few dents on a whole surface of dents?
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Based on the cost of repairing body damage, nobody will buy it. "

Ding!Ding!Ding! I would mention the increased cost of purchase as well.

They want better gas mileage? Quit requiring extra junk in new cars every year! Let the companies build cars without mandatory air bags, for one example. If you want to encourage use, allow discounts on car insurance. Heck, require the use of manual transmissions for that matter. They're lighter & more reliable, generally produce better mileage than do automatic transmissions.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am a dyed-in-the-wool stick shift fanatic, but still have to point out that this ship has sailed. Dry clutch automatics these days seem to beat the manuals in all numbers except weight, and there the difference is relatively small (less than 70 pounds in this example [http://www.caranddriver.com/features/a-tale-of-two-porsche-seven-speeds-manual-and-pdk-tech-dept]). They are still too new for a good reliability comparison, but conventional autos have had an edge there already, mostly because they are less susceptible to abuse by heavy-handed operators.

I am all with you regarding the other junk -- the runaway quest for collision survivability is especially irksome. How about looking at the road to avoid crashing into bridge abutments instead?
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
What, more reliable too? Sigh...

At least they're still lighter than automatic transmissions. Aren't they? :-/
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
When you buy one will you be issued a car titleist?

Will Government Motors issue a hybrid called The Putz?

With all those dimples will it come in the color of Shirley Temple Black?

Will leftists continue their scourge against humans by mandating a self-driving, self-denting, self-repairing car that doesn't need fuel or you at all? In fact, it goes to the store without you and buys tofu and organic leeks and if you stop at an In and Out for a double double animal style the engine automatically shuts down and the tires deflate.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Will Democratic cars Hook to the left?
Conservative cars Fade to the right?
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
What do consumers have to do with anything?
Our wise leaders will mandate this, and that will be that.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Benevolent.... you left out the Benevolent in Wise and Benevolent...
expect a knock at the door sometime between Midnight and 4 AM.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Guess this means that the next time my truck gets hail damage it won't get fixed!
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Climate change to the rescue!
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dimpled surface?....

What difference would it make?

All those Eco Fascist cars look like lemons anyway.....

.....btw, hit a lemon with a croquet mallot sometime and you'll get an idea what a Ford Explorer would do to a Prius.....
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Mythbusters did find that a dimpled surface seemed to improve gas mileage, so it had to be only a matter of time.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
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