Author's Note

To be perfectly honest, I love writing these super-technological articles. I love calling engineers and making them explain things to me that I have never studied. I have a hard time even picturing what they're talking about, so I make them repeat themselves six ways to Sunday to make sure I have it right before I write anything down.

This time, I got an extra-geeky bonus: nerd coloring book! Okay, it wasn't really a coloring book, but if you look up Atkinson's patent using Google's patent search (number 367,496, remember) it includes Atkinson's original diagrams. I used all eight of my highlighters and several colored Sharpies to keep track of which valves did what, and where the air was coming in and the exhaust was going out. Then I color-coded the patent text -- which I had also printed out -- so that when I was reading, I could match up vibrating link H in the description with its place in the engine.

I cannot recommend the coloring book method of technological learning enough. I plan on using it as often as possible. My inner eight-year-old is very happy.

Related ArticlesSources
  • Aguilar, Mike. "The Atkinson Cycle Engine." Bright Hub. Nov. 25, 2011. (Feb. 8, 2012) http://www.brighthub.com/engineering/mechanical/articles/25983.aspx
  • Animated Engines. "Atkinson Engine." (Feb. 8, 2012) http://www.animatedengines.com/atkinson.html
  • Atkinson, James. "Gas-Engine Patent 367,496." US Patent Office. Aug. 2, 1887. (Feb. 8, 2012)http://www.google.com/patents/US367496
  • Lee, David. Product Education Administrator, University of Toyota. Telephone interview conducted on Feb. 7, 2012.
  • Octavio Navarro. Public Relations, Ford Motor Company. Conference call interview conducted on Feb. 10, 2012.
  • Portalatin, Gilbert. Hybrid System Engineer, Ford Motor Company. Conference call interview conducted on Feb. 10, 2012.
  • Stephen Russ. 2.0L AC engine engineer, Ford Motor Company. Conference call interview conducted on Feb. 10, 2012.