How Much Air Does Your Car Consume?

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Engineering Explained Uses Balloons to Help Illustrate How Much Air Pumps Through Your Engine

Whenever we watch one of Jason Fenske’s Engineering Explained videos, we can’t help but feel like we’re lacking in the mental acuity department. Luckily, he’s one of those really smart folks that has the ability to explain engineering concepts in a way that simple minds like ours can follow. If you ever wanted to know the calculation for figuring out the number of liters per minute your engine can consume, this video is for you.

Beginning with some basic assumptions to simplify things a bit, Jason then shows us the math. In this case, you would multiply the engine’s displacement in liters by the revolutions per minute, and divide by two. Because in a 4-stroke piston engine, there is only an intake of air for every two revolutions of the crankshaft.

To illustrate as much, Jason uses his own Honda S2000 as the example car. But since this is Mustang Forums, we’re going to re-do the math with something a little more relevant to our interests. You know, for the sake of science.

air consumption
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Take a 1993 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra R, for example, one of our favorite Mustangs. With a 5-liter engine and a 6,500 rpm redline, we get a calculation that looks like this:

5.0 x 6,500 / 2 = 16,250 liters per minute

Using the two-car garage example in the video, our Mustang Cobra R would consume all of the air in the garage in about six and a half minutes. A good bit shorter than Jason’s fancy little Honda.

Of course, you can do the same calculation for the car running at idle. So we’ll assume the car will idle at around 1,200 RPM.

5.0 x 1,200 / 2 = 3,000 liters per minute

Same garage, different RPM. Which will have all of the air in that space consumed in 36 minutes.

Of course, the balloons are just there to look cool and make a loud pop.

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