Internal Combustion Engines

  Quickbeam 09:30 23 Nov 2011

I've always been interested in them, and how the traditional Otto 4 stroke still rules the roost after over a century despite some technically simpler designs that should have relegated it to the technological dustbin decades ago.

Anyway I came across these new animations, they're quite interesting and I wonder if this century will see any of them throw out the old Otto cycle engine.

Axial, Rotary 1, Rotary 2, Spherical,

  wiz-king 12:15 23 Nov 2011

Dont forget the external ones.

  spuds 12:27 23 Nov 2011

I haven't looked at the links, but wasn't the Wankel engine listed, the engine of the future?.

But that was at about the same time, when we had some 'two' seater funny vehicle on the roads (Gogmobile etc)?.

  Quickbeam 13:11 23 Nov 2011

In theory rotary No 2 should have no limit to it's operating rpm having no valves to crash or con rods to stretch, and should be no bigger than a biscuit tin.

I still wonder why no-one seems interested in developing the 6 stroke engine which uses existing and proven technology.

  WhiteTruckMan 16:09 23 Nov 2011

The basic concept of the infernal confusion engine has changed surprisingly little since its inception over a century ago. A good site for the workings of various types can be found here

Animated engines

not listed though is one of my favourites

The Deltic diesel

However one that still gives me pause for thought is the stirling engine. Adnittedly not a combustion engine, but on first glance its operation seems to be totally counter-intuitive.


  Forum Editor 19:30 23 Nov 2011


Fascinating stuff, and your link led me (as is the way with the internet) to another:-

which seems to tell you just about everything you could want to know about propulsion

  the hick 20:16 23 Nov 2011

According to a book I have, 'Hydraulics and its Applications', by Gibson, 1936, six-cylinder axial engines powered by water under pressure were used in the past to rotate gun turrets on warships. In the York Railway Museum, the 'stores' area, I saw a small 4-cylindered steam-engine of axial configuration, known as a Siemens engine I believe. Engines of axial design are not very efficient, due to high frictional losses. Very interesting, though!

  the hick 20:26 23 Nov 2011
  Aitchbee 21:32 23 Nov 2011

Pardon my ignorance, but how are the more complicated, modern designs of IC engines cooled?

What type of engine, powers the new Mars Rover, which will be on it's way soon, to the Red Planet. I heard on the radio recently, if all goes well with the Mission To Mars, the massive vehicle will be going up hills, to do experiments.

  Bingalau 21:59 23 Nov 2011

Isn't there an e-mail doing the rounds at present asking "Where have all the electric powered cars gone"? According to that e-mail the big car manufacturing firms have dropped them. Could it be something to do with the power of the big oil companies? Maybe that is also why the different types of engine, such as the Wankel etc., were also never improved or produced in big enough quantities to be viable.

  al's left peg 22:10 23 Nov 2011


I believe the Wankel engine was pit forward as the engine of the future because of the lack of moving parts in it. I believe though that the Tips on the flywheel part of the design which act as the valves suffer from wear due to the high RPM speeds. Mazda use the engine in the RX8 and although it revs like nobody's business, it does have to have the RPM kept at high numbers for the engine to develop the power to give a decent drive. It looks like it suffers from a lack of torque. On the subject of the lack of forward movement in design in general of the normal 4 stroke engine, it does seem strange that it has not really changed that much since it's inception for such a widely used item. If you think it was invented before television, and a whole host of other technological developments it has not really changed. Maybe the massive profits made by the oil companies and governments taxing the people who use it, have something to do with a lack of forward progress in engine design.

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