If your Chevy Cruze is keeping you nice and toasty this winter, you may be surprised to learn what infant product may be partially responsible.
Because packed snow can prevent air from properly entering the panel at the bottom of the windshield, General Motors engineers have recently been using diapers in order to simulate snow year round to study the effects this obstruction has on heating systems of cars like the Chevy Cruze.
Until recently, research and information used to improve and test heating systems depended on chance occurrences of snow or securing an opening at one of GM’s state-of-the-art climatic wind tunnels. Now, engineers are able to extract the active ingredient inside the diaper, sodium polyacrylate, and use it anywhere, at any time and in any season. The best part is, when the sodium polyacrylate dries, it can be reused.
GM Vehicle Thermal Systems Engineer Nicholas Jahn discovered this diaper-based testing method while swimming with his daughter. He noticed that her diaper ballooned in size when it came in contact with water. After a little research, he discovered that sodium polyacrylate, the absorbent material found in diapers, starts as a powder but turns into a snow-like substance when wet.
Because most car owners dread scraping their windshield when it’s freezing outside, GM set about to maximize heating capabilities in cars like the 2015 Chevy Cruze when bogged down by snow and ice. By sprinkling this sodium polyacrylate onto air inlet vents along the Cruze’s windshield, simulating an accumulation of snow and ice on the front windshield, engineers could then examine the inlet panel after a few minutes and the accumulation of “snow” was analyzed in addition to how much blockage was occurring in the intake vents.
Innovative thinking and improvising in this area has helped improve heating systems for Chevy Cruze owners and has been crucial in testing for snow intrusion and packing properties, according to GM.
If you want a vehicle that keeps you warm this winter and want to find out more about the Chevy Cruze, download the 2015 Cruze e-brochure. As always, you can schedule test drive online or contact Bachman Chevrolet for more information.