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Old 01-09-2010, 07:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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AS long as pistons reciprocate in cylinders, you will probably never reach 60%. The free piston engines were supposed to be capable of 58%. OPOC is advocated by many as the next engine. Opposed piston engines are an ancient design. Lear tried to win Indianapolis in the mid 60s with a steam engine that used the opposed piston configuration.

In 1913 at the Rheims air race in France, and event occurred that deserves a lot of attention today. The fastest airplane in the world was barely capable of 45 MPH in 1912.
At the 1913 race Armand Deperdussin entered his airplane design, a clipped wing monoplane powered by a 160 HP (weighed 350 pounds) rotary engine.

The crowds gasped in amazement as the little plane roared around the course at 120 MPH. It was believed that people simple could not stand the forces involved in travelling at those speeds in the air, almost 3 times what had been expected to win the race.

Armand was a clothing magnate in France, who like Lear 50 years later understood the true limitations of IC reciprocating engine designs. A few years later after loosing his fortune he committed suicide. Lear spent a lot of his fortune amassed by building the first practical private business jet on his dreams of winning Indy with a steam powered vehicle.

The rotary engine went on to become the premier fighter plane power plant of WW1, but the [production costs were exorbitant, and its power capabilities limited. Its was delegated to the scrap heap soon after the war.

The Germans did build a motorcycle with a rotary engine inside the front wheel in the 1920s, called the Megola.

Before Henry Ford ever built a working vehicle Stephen Marius Balzar built a rotary engine powered vehicle in 1893 that was donated to the Smithsonian Institute in 1899. You can still read his patent documents today.

I think (with significant redesign of the originals) the rotary engine still has a place in history yet to be made.

This is because it is the only piston in cylinder design that does not have a reciprocating component essential to its operation. By making the stroke adjustable on the fly, you have a flywheel for short term storage, and the mass of the engine itself as a portion of the work the engine must perform to create power. This means with no vehicle load you can still stay in the sweet spot by accelerating the engines mass and going flywheel-stroke less.

A functioning compressor-pump version of the design, that does not have adjustable stroke can be viewed on YouTube, with a link posted on this forum under my efficient engine design thread, which is now on page 3 I think.

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