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Are combustion engines by today's standards difficult to create? And how does one design other engines even if you fully understand how car engines work? Namely if only for fun someone created an engine that burns high fructose corn syrup could that be doable?

Yes, they are!  An absolutely HUGE amount of research (billions of dollars) has gone into engine design and experimentation, involving some of the very brightest minds of the last few centuries.  That's a rough crowd to keep up with.

If you understand how car engines work, you understand how gasoline engines work.  Designing something to run on corn syrup would be quite different, as it is not exactly a clean-burning fuel.  The viscosity and the carbon left over from burning present unique challenges to making and engine based on such a fuel.  The best bet for such an engine is probably a steam engine powered by that fuel.  For such designs, I would first reference the extensive work done on trains.


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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson


I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.


I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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