In a recent Motion Monitor eNewsletter, we asked whether or not John McCain's proposal of a $300 million national prize for “breakthrough battery technology” was a good idea or not. Here are some of your opinions.

Prize leads to empire building

John Harrison's H4 Chronometer was entered into the British government-sponsored contest to build a timekeeping device accurate enough to determine a ship's longitude. Harrison was paid about 20,000 pounds sterling as a reward. His chronometer revolutionized standard time keeping, navigation, and enabled the British to establish their worldwide empire.
Don Culver
Edgewood, Ky.

Small business gets no respect

Incentives can work, but are they needed? Newly available lithium battery compositions are passing the crash test and recharge much faster than standard lithiums. McCain would be better off creating incentives for oil alternatives. And that's the problem with Washington deciding on technology matters: It's usually the last place to know what's going on because small business is usually who's doing the work, and Big Government largely ignores small business. Ethanol is a great example of the Feds jumping on a bandwagon to nowhere.
Tom Mallard
Phoenix, Ariz.

Wheel of fortune

These sorts of prizes are normally offered for inventions that generally won't have a payoff for the inventor. If someone manages to develop the proposed battery, the last thing they are going to need is $300 million; the world's venture capitalists will beat a path to their door carrying sacks of cash. The market for a practical battery is so huge that the fortune to be made will make the incomes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet look like the allowance your dad used to give you.
Bob Downs
Tustin, Calif.

Smells of desperation

Nobel set aside a big prize for someone who will find a cure for cancer. That didn't help much. What's needed is a solid policy, not cheap giveaways and stints to promote someone's presidential ambitions. What we need are funds diverted from war spending and into energy independence programs. Enough of Hail Mary passes. They rarely work, and smell of desperation.
Oleg Los
Buffalo Grove, Ill.

Uncle Sam to the rescue

I believe the government should be involved in sponsoring a contest for such things as a new car battery technology. You will never see the oil industry sponsor a contest for a technology that would interrupt their infrastructure. Oil companies don't ship electricity, only liquids.
Steve Connor
East Kingston, N.H.

Drive train dilemma

I recently downloaded the MSD article “Sizing gearboxes under dynamic loading,” and found it very useful. Could you please tell me how you get the equation for drive train dynamic torque load? Also, in the equation describing a drive train's motion about the displacement angle, how are the turbine rotor and generator velocities derived?
Norzanah Rosmin, via e-mail

First some background: Dynamic torque is the torque required to change the state of motion or the steady-state condition of inertias (or masses) to accelerate or decelerate. In contrast, static torque is present even at steady-state conditions — even if the body is moving with constant velocity. Friction torque is one example. Dynamic torque equals mass moment of inertia multiplied by angular acceleration. This is basically Newton's equation of force.

As for the specific reference model, it does not consider the internal dynamic of the drive train due to vibration phenomena. So, it is not a dynamic model to describe vibration of the drive train; it is a model to estimate torque through the gearbox during acceleration or deceleration when inertial load at the gearbox output is driven by a motor connected to the gearbox input. For drive train vibration calculations and simulation, I would recommend the program package DRESP from IME of the University of Aaachen, Germany.
Gerhard G. Antony, Ph.D.
Neugart USA LP

To read Gerhard's original article yourself, visit neugartusa.com, click on FAQ, and download PDF number 32.