February 17, 2012

Interesting Info on Petrol and Diesel engines

Hi Guys,

I have been thinking of writing a post based on multiple topics, but I have been largely hit by the vast power cuts that have decreased the time I spend in front of computer.

Recently I have been discussing topics related to petrol (gasoline) and diesel engine with my friends. So, I thought of sharing some common questions and answers that may arise.

Please note that this post is not for mechanical or automobile engineering guys. Still, you may find some interesting info here.

1. What is the difference between a petrol and diesel engine?
Basically Petrol engines are spark ignition engines, whereas Diesel engines are Compression Ignition engines.
Petrol engines have carburetors to suck the fuel. The fuel is atomized (or vaporized) and is mixed with air. The air helps the fuel to burn. The air fuel mixture is let inside the cylinder, where it is burned by introducing a spark by means of spark igniter or spark plug. Thus they get the name Spark Ignition or SI engines.

Diesel engines don’t have carburetors, instead they have fuel injectors. Fuel Injectors inject fuel and supply it directly to the cylinder where burning occurs. Diesel Engines don’t have spark plugs. The compression ratio of diesel engine is more and also the auto ignition temperature of diesel is less than that of petrol. So, due to the compression, high pressure and temperature is created which burns the fuel. This is the principle of working of diesel engines and hence they have got the name Compression Ignition or CI engines.

2. Why do motor bikes have petrol engines and not diesel engines?
Some of the older model bikes had diesel engines. Diesel engines are bulky in nature. Carburetors are small, whereas fuel injectors are large and they have to be more accurate for proper functioning. Moreover higher compression ratio means higher vibration. Starting CI engines is quite difficult and particularly it’s hard during cold weather. So, diesel engines are not used in bikes.

3. What happens when diesel is used in petrol engines and vice versa?
Petrol has higher auto ignition temperature and it won’t burn at the compression ratio of a diesel engine without external help. So, the engine won’t run. Whereas when you use diesel in petrol engine, it’s dangerous. Diesel burns with more power and it may damage the engine partly or completely.

4. Why are diesel engine cars more expensive than petrol engine cars? Which is better to buy?
The components of diesel engine are expensive. As said earlier, they have to be manufactured with higher accuracy. Diesel engines have more components compared to petrol engines. This increases the total cost of the vehicle. The taxes imposed on diesel engine cars are also high.

On a long run and continuous usage diesel engine cars end up being cheap. This also depends on a lot of factors like the initial price difference the cars, cost of the fuel (currently petrol prices are increasing, but diesel prices are flat due to the extensive usage), cost of maintenance (diesel engines have higher maintenance costs), mileage, resale value and usage.

Also petrol engine cars are smoother to drive. You may have experienced it earlier. Bikes or petrol engine vehicles have lesser vibration whereas diesel engine vehicles such as buses have more vibration. This is due to the higher compression ratio of diesel engine. Hence the parts will be worn out soon too. With today’s technology the vibration effects are decreasing day by day.

5. Why is petrol red in color, whereas diesel yellowish in color?
Interestingly both the fuels have nearly the same color, except that petrol is dyed red in order to differentiate it from diesel. The color depends on countries, though it is mostly red. In some countries like South Africa, green color is used for unleaded petrol whereas red is used for leaded petrol.

That’s what I remember right now. If you have questions related to this or any other suggestions, please post in the comment section below.

Happy Reading!!!

February 3, 2012

The Hindu vs TOI ad campaigns!

Hi Guys,

I have been having a thought of what to write and today got a topic to write. I was just thinking about the way Vodafone attracted customers with a big first page ad in The Hindu who were going to be left in no man’s land after the Supreme Court has ordered cancelling of licenses of the services providers who were hit by the 2G scam.

Just then I remembered the interesting campaigns from The Hindu and The Times of India against each other. And to add fuel, TOI published an ad today and it was spreading in the net.

Times of India’s ad
It all started a few months back when the Times of India, started publishing in Chennai. Chennai was already full of various newspapers with The Hindu topping the charts and TOI was scrambling. In order to attract the readers, it created an ad which portrayed the people of Chennai sleeping, because of the old gen newspaper and in order to wake up it insisted readers to switch over to the TOI. The Youtube's version has 66 likes and 346 dislikes.

In between
I thought the Hindu would never respond to it and even the people won’t mind that. The paper’s standards were higher and the quality was there. But I think the smart strategy from TOI to have low subscriptions and giving freebies for subscriptions must have worked for them. TOI’s yearly subscription costs less than the three month cost of the Hindu and so people were able to afford. The Hindu didn’t provide any yearly subscription then (though it was available for the earlier subscribers).

The Hindu hits back
So, The Hindu was preparing ads silently and it launched all of them suddenly. The ads started to work in its favor thanks to Facebook and Twitter and it was trending for nearly 3-4 days. There were three different 1 minute ads and each ad had a similar pattern. The questionnaire asks a current affair question like ‘Who succeeds Ratan Tata?’ and the people are not able to answer it. But when they are asked a question based on movies like ‘What is Hrithik Roshan’s pet name?’ they answer it. Then they are asked what newspaper they read and the voice is beeped. We do not need a lip reader to say its Times of India. As against the TOI ad, this ad has lot of likes and few dislikes in the youtube. One of these ads has more than 1250 likes and just 35 dislikes. This proves The Hindu is the hottest newspaper here.

Following the video ad, The Hindu published various types of print ads that came with the quote ‘Move ahead of the Times’. The captions were phrased nicely and I think they were simple and have a big impact. Captions like ‘Because Government Malfunctions matters more than Wardrobe malfunctions’ were superb.

The Truth
Being a regular subscriber of The Hindu, I have not read the TOI much and decided to check both the paper’s websites to find out who gives quality news. Clearly The Hindu wins. The Hindu covers all the leading news happening around. TOI maybe covering too, but looking from the Most Popular articles, it is clear that readers go there for entertainment news. Two-third of the news in TOI is about movies and movie stars and the quality of the articles are too poor compared to those of The Hindus. Here is a screenshot of the most popular articles (Time: Feb 03, 2012 – 18:30). TOI’s most popular articles in past 24 hours are given. It’s most popular articles over the past weeks and months are even poor.
The Hindu's most popular
TOI's most read
I thought the matter was over and today the Times of India has hit back, congratulating the Hindu for waking up to the Times. Now let’s see what happens next!

Happy Reading!!!