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Experiments for enhancing engine performance with water injection go back to at least the 1950ies and have shown mixed or negative results. I have always been disappointed by this refutation of expectations and tended to put it down to experimental deficiencies like not raising the compression ratio in the test engine. In a new study Wang et al. finally confirm what has always been expected but never realized in practice.
In road vehicle engines there has long been a tendency to raise the compression ratio above the knock limit to improve part load efficiency and to suppress knock by retarding ignition and over-enrichment at full load. It is time to go back to old ideas and revitalize knock suppression by water.
The way the question is put in studies 2 and 3 by McPhetres & Zuckerman
“predicting the outcome of a coin toss by mathematical formula” describes a magical and not a scientific process. Scientifically literate subjects will have recognized this and the answers by scientifically illiterate ones may well mean something entirely different from what the authors presume. Still their result is telling and it's interesting to see that religious persons do not only rate prayer more efficacious than irreligious ones but also hazily defined
“sending positive wishes”.
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