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Cool Your Engines?



Cool Your Engines?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.41

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    air-cooled, airstream, chas-see, crankcase, crankshaft, rear-axle, recirculates, semisolid, silicone, special-grade, water-cooled, transmission, synthetic, movable, original, lubricant


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Cool Your Engines?
By Trista L. Pollard
  

1     Imagine a hot summer day. The temperature is well over ninety degrees Celsius even in the shade. You've been playing outside for so long, the rubber soles on your sneakers are sticking to the hot pavement. You can't wait to get home to have a tall glass of ice cold water to cool your "internal engines." Well, think about your mom. She has been driving back and forth all day, chauffeuring you and your siblings to different locations. During her travel, air conditioning and the occasional break for fluids has helped her to maintain her cool. Has anyone thought about your poor car? What is cooling its engine on a hot summer day? Thanks to scientists and inventors over the centuries, automobiles have been blessed with an internal cooling and lubrication system.
 
2     Lubrication is when a substance is placed between the contact surfaces of moving parts to reduce friction and to lessen heat. Usually the lubricant is oil, grease, graphite, or any substance that allows the movement of mechanical parts. The goal of lubrication in machinery is to reduce heat that is caused by friction; to decrease damage that is caused by the contact of moving parts; and to promote cooling of the surrounding area of moving parts. Lubricants can be in the form of a gas, liquid, semisolid, or solid. They are usually classified as animal (goose grease), vegetable (soybean oil), or mineral (petroleum). Before the nineteenth century most lubricants came from vegetable oils or animal fats or oils. Today, lubricants for machines are made from mineral oils like petroleum and shale oil. Both types of oil can be distilled and condensed without losing their original purity. There are also synthetic or man-made lubricants like silicone which are used on machine parts that produce very high temperatures. So what does this have to do with your mom's car? The engine in your mom's car is a piece of machinery with many movable parts. In fact, your mom's entire car has many movable parts. If these parts are not lubricated, they will not work efficiently, and therefore, your mom's car will not work efficiently.
 
3     The chassis (pronounced chas-see) is the frame, wheels, and machinery of the vehicle on which the body of the vehicle is supported. The chassis is lubricated with grease. The manual transmission and the rear-axle housings are lubricated with heavy oil. The rear-axle is the bar or shaft on which the rear wheels turn. If your mom's car has automatic transmission, then the transmission is lubricated with a special-grade light oil. The wheel bearings are lubricated with a grease that has a thickener made with long fibers. Bearings are movable parts, usually shaped like balls, which reduce friction between other movable parts and can also be used to move heavy loads. The bearings are usually housed or held in a cage and roll on a track.

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