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The Chrysler Automotive Gas Turbine Engine, 1950-80

Hans-Joachim Braun
Social Studies of Science
Vol. 22, No. 2, Symposium on 'Failed Innovations' (May, 1992), pp. 339-351
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/285620
Page Count: 13
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The Chrysler Automotive Gas Turbine Engine, 1950-80
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Abstract

In the late 1940s, Chrysler, in response to government contracts, started research and development work on the automotive gas turbine engine. George F. Huebner, Jr, later head of the research and development department at Chrysler, was the most optimistic champion of this new technology. The gas turbine engine had obvious advantages - especially the absence of vibrations, low maintenance needs, multi-fuel capability, and low emission levels due to continuous combustion. On the other hand, poor fuel economy at part-load, slow acceleration response, high manufacturing costs and the lack of appropriate materials for extremely high temperatures were problems which have only partly been solved. Therefore, large-scale production of this engine has, so far, not been possible. By using engineering ceramic materials, Chrysler and other automobile manufacturers hope to overcome the latter problem, and make full use of the advantages of the gas turbine engine. From the end of World War II, government has acted as both a support (defence R & D projects) and impediment (anti-air-pollution acts, fluctuations in defence spending) to the development of the automotive gas turbine.

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