Generally speaking, we don't like the idea of being Supercritical. Being critical is bad enough without super-ing it, right? Apparently, though, being Supercritical with fuel is a good thing, as a company called Transonic is reporting that it has managed to boost the efficiency of an internal combustion engine in its testing by 50 to 75 percent.
Naturally, we take all such amazing-sounding performance claims with an appropriately large grain of salt. According to this article from the Society of Automotive Engineers, though, the technology sounds legit. As much as we'd love to be geniuses that are capable of explaining exactly how Supercritical Fuel Injection works, we're not. So... here's what Michael Frick, Vice President for Engineering at Transonic, has to say:
A supercritical fluid is basically a fourth state of matter that's part way between a gas and liquid... People might remember from chemistry class that there's a triple point on the [temperature vs. pressure] phase diagram of water, for instance, at which water exists simultaneously as ice, water, and vapor, but few know that there's another critical point at and around which a fluid will exhibit gas-like and liquid-like properties.
Well now, that helps, right? Well, here's the important stuff:
Supercritical fuel injection facilitates short ignition delay and fast combustion, precisely controls the combustion that minimizes crevice burn and partial combustion near the cylinder walls, and prevents droplet diffusion burn.
So, there you have it.

[Source: Society of Automotive Engineers via The Kneeslider]

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