Internal combustion engine.

A colorized automobile engine An internal combustion engine is an engine that is powered by the expansion of hot combustion products of fuel directly acting within an engine. A piston internal combustion engine works by burning hydrocarbon or hydrogen fuel that presses on a piston; and a jet engine works as the hot combustion products press on the interior parts of the nozzle and combustion chamber, directly accelerating the engine forwards. The rotary combustion engine uses a rotor instead of reciprocating pistons. By way of contrast, an external combustion engine such as a steam engine, does work when the combustion process heats a separate working fluid, such as water or steam, which then in turn does work. Jet engines, most rockets and many gas turbines are classed as internal combustion engines, but the term "internal combustion engine" is often loosely used to refer specifically to a piston internal combustion engine and rotary combustion engine in which combustion is intermittent and the products act on reciprocating machinery, the most common subtype of this kind of engine


Early internal-combustion engines were used to power farm equipment. In the broadest sense of the term, the internal combustion engine can be said to have been invented in China, with the invention of fireworks during the Song dynasty (some sources put the invention a thousand years earlier still). English inventor Sir Samuel Morland used gunpowder to drive water pumps in the 17th century. For more conventional, reciprocating

internal combustion engines the fundamental theory for two-stroke engines was established by Sadi Carnot in France in 1824, whilst the American Samuel Morey received a patent on April 1, 1826 for a "Gas Or Vapor Engine". The Italians Eugenio Barsanti and Felice Matteucci patented a first working efficient version of an internal combustion engine in 1854 in London (pt. Num. 1072). Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir produced in 1860 a gas-fired internal combustion engine not dissimilar in appearance to a steam beam engine. Nikolaus Otto working with Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in the 1870's developed the four-stroke cycle (Otto cycle) engine.

Internal combustion engines are most commonly used for mobile propulsion systems. In mobile scenarios internal combustion is advantageous, since it can provide high power to weight ratios together with excellent fuel energy-density. These engines have appeared in almost all cars, motorbikes, many boats, and in a wide variety of aircraft and locomotives. Where very high power is required, such as jet aircraft, helicopters and large ships, they appear mostly in the form of gas turbines. They are also used for electric generators and by industry. For low power mobile and many non-mobile applications an electric motor is a competitive alternative. In the future, electric motors may also become competitive for most mobile applications. However, the high cost and weight and poor energy density of batteries and lack of affordable onboard electric generators such as fuel cells has largely restricted their use to specialist applications.


An illustration of several key components in a typical four-stroke engine

The parts of an engine vary depending on the engine's type. For a four-stroke engine, key parts of the engine include the crankshaft (purple), one or more camshafts (red and blue) and valves. For a two-stroke engine, there may simply be an exhaust outlet and fuel inlet instead of a valve system. In both types of engines, there are one or more cylinders (grey and green) and for each cylinder there is a spark plug (darker-grey), a piston (yellow) and a crank (purple). A single sweep of the cylinder by the piston in an upward or downward motion is known as a stroke and the downward stroke that occurs directly after the air-fuel mix in the cylinder is ignited is known as a power stroke.

A Wankel engine has a triangular rotor that orbits in an epitroichoidal (figure 8 shape) chamber around an eccentric shaft. The four phases of operation (intake, compression, power, exhaust) take place in separate locations, instead of one single location as in a reciprocating engine.

A Quasiturbine has a four face articulated rotor that rotates inside a quasi-oval shaped chamber, as with the wankel the four phases take place in separate locations but differs in that a complete revolution of the output shaft is a complete four stroke cycle.

typically with air. In a reciprocating engine. . Whilst hydrogen is light and therefore has a higher specific energy. a major cause of global warming. Any heat not translated into work is a waste product and is removed from the engine either by an air or liquid cooling system. The advantage of hydrogen is that its combustion produces only water. The available energy is manifested as high temperature and pressure which can be translated into work by the engine. there is no real difference between an "engine" and a "motor. carbon monoxide and nitrous oxides (NOx). and. Liquid and gaseous biofuels of adequate formulation can also be used. All internal combustion engines must have a means of ignition to promote combustion. Once the available energy has been removed the remaining hot gases are vented (often by opening a valve or exposing the exhaust outlet) and this allows the piston to return to its previous position (Top Dead Center . Although the terms sometimes cause confusion.TDC). Most engines use either an electrical or a compression heating ignition system. Classification There is a wide range of internal combustion engines corresponding to their many varied applications. The most common fuels in use today are made up of hydrocarbons and are derived from petroleum. some of which are listed below. the high pressure product gases inside the cylinders drive the engine's pistons. the combustion products (hot gases) have more available energy than the original compressed fuel/air mixture (which had higher chemical energy). This is unlike the combustion of hydrocarbons which also produces carbon dioxide. gasoline and liquified petroleum gas.Operation All internal combustion engines depend on the exothermic chemical process of combustion: the reaction of a fuel. This battery can be recharged during operation using an alternator driven by the engine. the volumetric efficiency is still roughly five times lower than petrol." At one time. Once successfully ignited and burnt. although other oxidisers such as nitrous oxide may be employed. liquid hydrogen has extremely low density. The big disadvantage of hydrogen in many situations is storage. Some have theorized that in the future hydrogen might replace such fuels. Likewise there is a wide range of ways to classify internal-combustion engines.14 times lower than water and requires extensive insulation. Most internal combustion engines designed for gasoline can run on natural gas or liquified petroleum gases without modifications except for the fuel delivery components. whilst gaseous hydrogen requires very heavy tankage. as a result of incomplete combustion. the word "engine" (from Latin. The piston can then proceed to the next phase of its cycle (which varies between engines). Compression heating ignition systems (Diesel engines and HCCI engines) rely on the heat created in the air by compression in the engine's cylinders to ignite the fuel. Also see stoichiometry. Electrical ignition systems generally rely on a lead-acid battery and an induction coil to provide a high voltage electrical spark to ignite the air-fuel mix in the engine's cylinders. via Old French. These include the fuels known as diesel.

" Principles of operation Reciprocating: Two-stroke engine • Four-stroke engine • Rotary: • • Wankel engine quasiturbine Continuous combustion: • • • gas turbine jet engine rocket engine Engine cycle Engines based on the two-stroke cycle use two strokes (one up. and are used where small size and weight are important. more polluting. "ability") meant any piece of machinery. larger boats and many light aircraft. mopeds. such as snowmobiles." but combusion engines are often referred to as "motors. They are generally quieter. The Wankel . outboard motors and some motorcycles. lawnmowers. most notably the Atkinson and Miller cycles. Gasoline two-stroke engines are generally louder. Most truck and automotive Diesel engines use a four-stroke cycle. A "motor" (from Latin motor. for instance some locomotives built by EMD. less efficient. Engines based on the four-stroke cycle or Otto cycle have one power stroke for every four strokes (up-down-up-down) and are used in cars. and smaller than their four-stroke counterparts. "mover") is any machine that produces mechanical power. more efficient and larger than their two-stroke counterparts. but with a compression heating ignition system it is possible to talk separately about a diesel cycle. relying on the action of the bottom of the piston within the crankcase to help move the fuel-air mixture. Traditionally. although large two-stroke diesel engines are not subject to these complaints and are used in many applications.ingenium. There are a number of variations of these cycles. one down) for every power stroke. electric motors are not referred to as "engines.

Fuel type Diesel engines are generally heavier. the mass of each piston can be less) thus making a smoother running engine (since the engine tends to vibrate as a result of the pistons moving up and down). Paraffin and Tractor vaporising oil (TVO) engines are no longer seen. . Both gasoline and diesel engines produce significant emissions. Nikola Tesla gained one of the first patents on the mechanical ignition system with U. it provides one power 'stroke' per revolution per rotor. there seems to be a break point around 10 or 12 cylinders. motorcycles and mopeds. For high performance gasoline engines using current materials and technology (such as the engines found in modern automobiles). methanol. though as many as 28 have been used. although exceptions such as the W-16 engine from Volkswagon Ignition system Internal combustion engines can be classified by their ignition system. over all. would more properly be called a four-phase engine). ships and some locomotives and light aircraft. There are also engines that run on hydrogen. Note that in Europe. the engine will tend to weigh more and tend to generate more internal friction as the greater number of pistons rub against the inside of their cylinders.engine operates with the same separation of phases as the four-stroke engine (but with no piston strokes. more power strokes) in a given period of time. noisier and more powerful at lower speeds than gasoline engines.S. Second. However outside flame and hot-tube systems have been used historically. Having more cylinders in a engine yields two potential benefits: First. liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and biodiesel. They are also more fuel-efficient in some circumstances and are used in heavy road-vehicles. representing around 40% of the market. The down side to having more pistons is that. with a greater displacement and more pistons. sophisticated diesel-engined cars are far more prevalent. since the phases occur in separate locations in the engine. Gasoline engines are used in most other road-vehicles including most cars. "Electrical Igniter for Gas Engines". Today most engines use an electrical or compression heating system for ignition. meaning that such an engine can generate more torque than a similar engine with fewer cylinders. This tends to decrease fuel efficiency and rob the engine of some of its power. the engine can have a larger displacement with smaller individual reciprocating masses (that is. however like a two-stroke piston engine. more fuel can be combusted and there can be more combustion events (that is. ethanol. on 16 August 1898. Patent 609250. some automobiles. Cylinders Internal combustion engines can contain any number of cylinders with numbers between one and twelve being common. . giving it similar space and weight efficiency. after which addition of cylinders becomes an overall detriment to performance and efficiency.

The Gnome Rotary engine. there are two ways to increase an engine's capacity. or "W" have also been used. using two crankshafts. called an opposed piston design. which used three crankshafts to serve three banks of double-ended cylinders arranged in an equilateral triangle with the crankshafts at the corners. but can instead have a piston at each end of the cylinder. In either case. More unusual configurations. Engines with greater capacities are usually more powerful and provide greater torque at lower rpms but also consume more fuel. Engine capacity An engine's capacity is the displacement or swept volume by the pistons of the engine. The first is to lengthen the stroke and the second is to increase the piston's diameter. had a stationary crankshaft and a bank of radially arranged cylinders rotating around it. Other internal combustion engines like Jet engines use burners. it may be necessary to make further adjustments to the fuel intake of the engine to ensure optimal performance. to distinguish it from Wankel "rotary combustion engines". preburners and many other ideas. Technically this is a "rotary piston engine". . "X". "U". Aircraft engines can also adopt a radial configuration which allows more effective cooling. It is generally measured in litres or cubic inches for larger engines and cubic centimetres (abbreviated to cc's) for smaller engines. and Diesel engines essentially always use this technique. and most remarkably in the Napier Deltic diesel engines. Engine configuration Internal combustion engines can be classified by their configuration which affects their physical size and smoothness (with smoother engines producing less vibration). Apart from designing an engine with more cylinders. the more compact V configuration and the wider but smoother flat or boxer configuration. such as "H". This design was used in the Junkers Jumo 205 diesel aircraft engine.Fuel systems Often for simpler reciprocating engines a carburetor is used to supply fuel into the cylinder. Car engines have mostly moved to Fuel injection systems. used in several early aircraft. exact control of the correct amount of fuel supplied to the engine is difficult. Multiple-crankshaft configurations do not necessarily need a cylinder head at all. It was also used in single-bank locomotive engines. Common configurations include the straight or inline configuration. and continues to be used for marine engines. one at either end of a single bank of cylinders. gas/liquid shear. However. both for propulsion and for auxiliary generators. and rocket engines use various different ideas including impinging jets.

model airplane and motorized garden appliances like chainsaws and lawnmowers. and the Austin-Healey Sprite Mark II all had engines of the same stroke and bore according to their specifications. notably opposed piston designs. and V8 engines for trucks and heavy machinery. power. 1100cc and 1098cc respectively in the sales literature and on the vehicle badges. instead of every second revolution. particularly reciprocating internal combustion engines produce moderately high pollution levels. Two-stroke cycles have also been used in diesel engines. For handheld devices. karts. low speed units such as large marine engines. and were from the same maker. due to incomplete combustion of carbonaceous fuel. there is a power stroke per piston for every engine revolution. they also have the advantage of working in any orientation. compression. Two stroke engines can be arranged to start and run in either direction. Thus. However the engine capacities were quoted as 1000cc. high-performance. They are commonly used in outboard motors. although the same four operations (intake. In each application. scooters. Various two-stroke design types To understand the operation of the Two-stroke engine it is necessary to know which type of design is in question because different design types operate in different ways. mopeds. the Morris 1100. small-capacity motorcycles. leading to carbon monoxide and some soot along with oxides of nitrogen & sulphur and some unburnt hydrocarbons depending on the operating conditions and the fuel air ratio Diesel engines produce a wide range of pollutants including aerosols of many small particles that are believed to penetrate deeply into human lungs Two-stroke cycle The two-stroke cycle of an internal combustion engine differs from the more common four-stroke cycle by having only two strokes (linear movements of the piston) instead of four. The smallest gasoline engines are usually two-strokes. but less commonly among medium sized ones. The Morris Minor 1000. as there is no oil reservoir dependent upon gravity. . exhaust) still occur.An engine's quoted capacity can be more a matter of marketing than of engineering. they are popular because of their simple design (and consequent low cost) and very high power-to-weight ratios (because the engine has twice as many combustions per second as a four stroke engine revolving at the same speed). Engine pollution Generally internal combustion engines. snowmobiles. Two-stroke engines are used most among the smallest and largest reciprocating powerplants.

therefore the scavenging is done with air only. These are the main variations. The valves function the same way as fourstroke exhaust valves do but at twice the speed. Blower-scavenged Instead of using the crank case as a pump to pump fresh air/fuel mixture into the cylinder. Blowers are used in conjunction with diesels. otherwise it is closed. All functions are controlled solely by the piston covering and uncovering the ports (which are holes in the side of the cylinder) as it moves up and down in the cylinder. Piston port Piston port is the simplest of the designs. Valve in head Instead of the exhaust exiting from a hole in the side of the cylinder. Fuel is sprayed into the hot compressed air and ignites. The intake tract is arranged so that it passes through the disk. the method of scavenging the cylinder (exchanging burnt exhaust for fresh mixture) and the method of exhausting the cylinder. Diesels are blower scavenged. Diesel Spark ignition gasoline engines require a spark plug to ignite the fuel. Loop-scavenged This method of scavenging uses carefully aimed transfer ports to loop fresh mixture up one side of the cylinder and down the other pushing the burnt . valves are provided in the cylinder head. Reed valve engines deliver power over a wider RPM range than does the piston port making them more useful in most situations. an auxiliary air pump is used to blow air through the cylinder and clear out burnt exhaust (hence the term “blower”). They can be found alone or in various combinations. Diesels rely on the heat of very high compression to ignite the fuel. Reed valve Similar to and almost as simple as the piston port but with a check valve in the intake tract. This disk has a section cut from it and when this cut passes the intake pipe it opens.The design types of the two-stroke cycle engine vary according to the method of intake of fresh air/fuel mixture from the outside. Disk rotary valve The intake tract is opened and closed by a thin disk attached to the crankshaft and spins at crankshaft speed.

such as Honda V-TACS system. The heavy piston with its very high heat absorption along with its poor scavenging and combustion characteristics make it an antiquated design now except where there is no way to use loop scavenging. It features a flat or slightly domed piston crown for efficient combustion. either they alter the exhaust port size (and therefore port time) such as Suzuki AETC system or alter the volume on the exhaust. an exhaust port on one side of the cylinder. Power Valve Systems Many modern two stroke engines employ a Power valve system. Before loop scavenging was invented almost all two strokes were made this way. The result is an engine with better low down power and much more high rpm power. Loop scavenging is by far the most used system of scavenging. but complex dynamics are employed in its operation. They work in one of two ways. and an intake port on the other side.exhaust ahead of it and out the exhaust port. The downward movement of the piston first uncovers the exhaust port. The valves are normaly in or around the exhaust ports. Basic operation The two-stroke engine is simple in construction. A typical simple two-stroke contains a piston whose face is shaped. and . allowing most of the exhaust to be expelled. Cross flow-scavenged In a cross flow engine the transfer ports and exhaust ports are on opposite sides of the cylinder and a baffle shaped piston dome directs the fresh mixture up and over the dome pushing the exhaust down the other side of the baffle and out the exhaust port.

Intake/Compression stroke: The piston moves from Bottom Dead Center (BDC) to T. Steps of two-stroke cycle: Expansion stroke: The piston is at Top Dead Center (TDC) Crank is at 0 or 360°. After 8-12° fresh scavenging gases are then let into to the cylinder. and the air-fuel mixture is sucked into the crankcase. the air-fuel mixture already in the cylinder is being compressed. the ignition system ignites the charge in the combustion chamber. driving the piston back down. In more detail: Intake and compression The rising piston creates a partial vacuum in the sealed crankcase. compresses the air/fuel/oil mixture and lets left over exhaust out . Intake gases move inside due to partial vacuum and also blowers are used to push intake gases in. The intake port is opened and working substance flows in. the air-fuel mixture already in the cylinder is being compressed. As the piston nears the top of the stroke. Fuel is injected till the last stage of compression.then uncovers the intake port through which an air-fuel mixture (the fuel normally has some oil mixed in) is let into the cylinder. In real engines the process is completed from 0 to 150° but in this model it is completed at 120°. then.D. the air/fuel/oil mixture that was let into the cylinder pushes the exhaust out the exhaust port the pistion. glass fiber or even carbon fiber) allowing the mixture to enter the crankcase. A connection (inlet port) between the crankcase and the carburetor is uncovered by the piston as it rises. At the same time. In diesel engines. Exhaust and scavenging process: The piston moves from TDC to BDC At 120° exhaust port is opened and exhaust gases move out of the cylinder due to inertia of steam.C. at 11-13° fuel is injected in TDC Up till now only air is compressed. The piston then moves upwards. The vacuum opens the reed valve (thin flexible sheets made of steel. compressing the mixture which is ignited by a spark plug.

and the burned gases can escape. This pushes also some mixture from the crankcase back to the inlet tract. causing the reed valve to close and preventing the mixture from entering the air filter. a hole in the side of the cylinder connected to the exhaust pipe (exhaust port) is opened. so there is a period of time when fresh air-fuel mixture is coming in while exhaust is leaving. and the piston is forced down by the rapidly expanding gases of combustion. Furthermore.Operation of a piston port engine Power and exhaust When the piston reaches the top of its stroke. The air fuel mixture is forced into passageways that connect the crankcase to the cylinder. the transfer ports are closed by the piston and the air/fuel mixture is compressed. Holes connecting these passages to the upper cylinder (transfer ports) are uncovered by the descending piston and air-fuel mixture is forced into the upper cylinder. Design issues . The incoming fresh charge assists in forcing the exhaust gas out. the descending piston closes the inlet port and pressurizes the crankcase. The next cycle starts. the mixture is ignited. As the piston reaches the bottom and then starts to rise again. The transfer ports are just a bit lower than the top of the exhaust port. As the piston descends.

A third pattern uses the induction method of the gasoline two-stroke. Furthermore. The cylinder ports and piston top are shaped to minimise this mixing of the intake and exhaust flows. cannot be used in the above-described two stroke engine design. An independent lubrication system from below. is common in truck. Two stroke engines mix lubricant with their fuel (either manually at refueling or by injecting oil into the fuel stream). exactly like a four-stroke engine. This problem has been addressed in newer engines which employ direct injection. resulting in undesirable emissions. this mixture lubricates the cylinder. and the rising piston compresses . There is no mixing of lubricating oil into the fuel. the Clark cycle. There are three patterns. which together with a sliding seal on the piston rod allows the air path to be separated from the crankshaft while still using the piston movement as an air pump. The lubricant is subsequently burned. railroad locomotive and machinery engines. both valves are closed. Examples are the Junkers Jumo 205 and Napier Deltic high-speed opposed piston engines. similar to diesel two-strokes. The major components of two-stroke engines are tuned so that optimum airflow results. This pattern. As the fuel is injected directly into the cylinder. Some modern designs differ from the gasoline twostroke cycle in that they have intake and exhaust valves in the cylinder head. crankshaft and connecting rod bearings. Intake and exhaust pipes are tuned so that resonances in airflow give better flow. [ Two-stroke diesel engines A two-stroke cycle has also been used for some diesel engines. but with an exhaust valve in the cylinder head. since the crank case is being used to hold the airfuel mixture. a tuned pipe with an expansion chamber provides back pressure at just the right time to push fresh air-fuel mixture sneaking out the exhaust back in again. Large marine diesels commonly use this arrangement. the two-stroke cycle is used to improve power-to-weight ratio and/or reduce the engine speed to increase reliability.A major problem with the two-stroke engine has been the short-circuiting of fresh charge from intake to exhaust which increases fuel consumption and emissions of unburned hydrocarbons. the lubrication of the crankshaft must be independent in these engines. The simpler stroke in the fully valved diesel two-stroke cycle is the compression stroke. Other engines have used the same ported arrangement as the gasoline twostroke. as is used in four-stroke designs. In these engines. although the charge air is generally delivered under pressure from a blower through ducting rather than through the crankcase. These engines commonly also use a crosshead bearing.

The intake valve then opens. The exhaust valve closes at that point. makes their exhaust far smellier and more damaging than a four-stroke engine. New two-stroke designs rely on electronically-controlled fuel injection. and at about bottom dead center. and the exhaust gases. At the top of the stroke. and is often used for efficiency in any case. A low-pressure supercharger (blower) is needed at minimum. and smaller size outweigh their aforementioned disadvantages. Firstly. Finally. thus struggling to meet current emission control laws. Air under pressure rushes into the cylinder. If the crankcase is not used as an air pump. The intake air must be under pressure. diesel fuel is injected into the cylinder. so does the intake valve. where it ignites and burns. still under pressure. oil injection and other design tweaks to reduce pollution and increase fuel efficiency. partly due to the more penetrating high-frequency buzzing and partly due to the fact that muffling them reduces engine power far more than on a four-stroke engine (high-performance two-stroke engine exhausts are tuned by determining the resonant frequency of the exhaust systems and exploiting it to top-up the fuel air charge just before the cylinder port closes). When the piston nears the bottom of the stroke. some other means of forced induction is required. delivering power. they require much more fuel than a comparably powerful four-stroke engine due to less efficient combustion. The hot. only air.the air. A notable area of use today is in small displacement motorcycles. They are noisier. including Trabants and Wartburgs. but many are turbocharged. heating it. Also. high pressure gases produced by the combustion push against the piston as it descends in the initial part of the second stroke. among others) and are reducing their prevalence in the above applications. The diesel two-stroke generally lacks the inefficiency and pollution problems of the gasoline two-stroke. the exhaust valve opens. such as in historic Saabs and DKWs and until recently in several automobiles produced in the Eastern bloc. can get blown out of the exhaust valve before it closes. mostly in off-road "dirt-bikes". such systems increase the cost of the . and shortly after that. but these often have enough complications that they do not outperform comparable four-stroke engines. they are considered less reliable and durable than four stroke engines. However. The burning oil. blowing out the remainder of the exhaust gases. there is no mixing of lubricant with the fuel. both valves are still closed. rush out. Compared with four-stroke engines Two-stroke engines have several marked disadvantages that have largely precluded their use in automobiles (although there was some use. and the less efficient combustion. since no unburned fuel. At this point. and scooters. where their higher power-to-weight ratio. since the engine does not have an induction stroke and cannot suck the air in by itself. There are more elaborate possible two-stroke engine configurations.

.engines to the point that for small systems simple four-stroke engines are most cost-effective. including Ford and Honda are still actively researching ways to build practical and clean two strokes for automotive use. Many large manufacturers.

It was invented by German engineer Nikolaus Otto in 1876. On the first downward stroke (intake) of the piston. The intake (inlet) valve (or valves) then close(s). intake (induction) stroke 2.Four-stroke cycle From Wikipedia. of a piston inside a cylinder: 1. the free encyclopedia. exhaust stroke The cycle begins at top dead center. but requires considerably more moving parts and manufacturing expertise and the resulting engine is larger and heavier than a two-stroke engine of comparable power output. etc). The later-invented Wankel engine has four similar phases but is a rotary combustion engine rather than the much more usual. The four-stroke cycle is more fuel-efficient and clean burning than the two-stroke cycle. a mixture of fuel and air is drawn into the cylinder through the intake (inlet) port. generators. when the piston is at its topmost point. The four-stroke cycle (or Otto cycle) of an internal combustion engine is the cycle most commonly used for automotive and industrial purposes today (cars and trucks. four-stroke cycle The Otto cycle is characterized by four strokes. compression stroke 3. back and forth. or straight movements alternately. . and the following upward stroke (compression) compresses the fuel-air mixture. reciprocating engine of the four-stroke cycle. power (ignition) stroke 4.

. . The air-fuel mixture is then ignited. at approximately the top of the compression stroke. and the fourth and final upward stroke (exhaust) evacuates the spent exhaust gases from the cylinder past the then-open exhaust valve or valves. usually by a spark plug for a gasoline or Otto cycle engine. through the exhaust port. intake stroke. and compression stroke. The resulting expansion of burning gases then forces the piston downward for the third stroke (power). or by the heat and pressure of compression for a Diesel cycle of compression ignition engine.Starting position.

power stroke. Valve Timing In its original configuration. a partial vacuum is created within the cylinder which draws in the fuel/air mixture. The momentum of the exhausting gas . and exhaust stroke. however. At high rotational speeds.Ignition of fuel. The intake valve then closes. As the piston descends on the intake (inlet) stroke. As the exhaust valve opens. . It was soon discovered. the piston ascends. consistent flow through the intake and exhaust ports is maintained by allowing the intake and exhaust valves to be open simultaneously at top dead center. that at rotational speeds approaching 100 revolutions per minute (RPM) or greater. the piston ascends once more and forces the exhaust gases out. and the mixture is compressed and ignited. causing the piston to descend again. and to force out the exhaust gasses. the exhaust gasses could not change direction quickly enough to exit past the exhaust valve by the piston's motion alone. the four-stroke engine relies entirely on the piston's motion to draw in fuel and air. This was the technique used in early four-stroke engines.

As the piston ascends through the exhaust stroke. and automobile manufacturers will usually choose the most cost effective solution. Between the valve stem and the cam is a tappet. When exhaust ports are close together and feeding into a manifold. Aiding the exhaust flow in this way is called scavenging. The advantage of the extra time available for more complete exhaust of the cylinder outweighs the loss of the slight potential power in the still expanding gas. leaving only a clean fuel/air mixture. generally being too restrictive for optimum power production. Also. In older engine designs. Ideally. the exhaust valve is typically opened at about twenty degrees of crankshaft rotation before bottom dead center. the pressure wave of another exhausting cylinder may interfere with the first. high-pressure gasses within the cylinder. which is a rod with a series of projecting cams (lobes). trapping exhaust gasses. pulling the fuel/air mixture in more easily. The trick is to close the exhaust valve before much fresh mixture is drawn into the exhaust port. Valve train The valves are typically operated by a camshaft. The same effect occurs in an intake manifold. the fresh fuel/air charge will push remaining exhaust gasses out the cylinder before the exhaust valve closes.maintains the outward flow and initiates the induction flow. both valves may be open simultaneously for a total of more than forty-five degrees of rotation. Consequently. a cam follower. the cam shaft was in the crankcase . it becomes less useful to retain the hot. The disadvantage is lower fuel efficiency owing to the loss of fresh mixture into the exhaust port which can. however. also approximately twenty degrees before top dead center. The internal pressure problems with an induction manifold can be overcome by using a carburetor or injector for each cylinder. The end result is always a compromise. each with a carefully calculated profile designed to push the valve open by the required degree at the right moment and to hold it open as required as the camshaft rotates. Exhaust noise and emissions equipment may impede smooth exhaust flow out of the cylinder. Accomplishing maximum volumetric efficiency for a given engine is not a formulaic process. as the piston approaches bottom dead center. Different intake and exhaust equipment is tested at different speeds and loads. excessive pressure in the cylinder may cause an exhaust back-flow into the intake manifold when the intake valve opens. Under ideal conditions. a technique called valve overlap. After ignition of the fuel/air charge. the momentum of the exhaust flow will cause a lower pressure within the cylinder. such as are experienced during races. To this end. the intake valve will be opened. This allows the development of gas momentum in the exhaust port before the piston rises to push the gas out. an important consideration at high engine speeds. serve the useful purpose of cooling the exhaust valve. which accommodates variations in the line of contact of the cam.

Pneumatic Valve Springs Recent Formula 1 engines have resorted to use of pneumatic valve springs to overcome the high-RPM limitations of metallic springs while still using conventional camshafts. to open the valves as far as possible into the cylinder. but there is a practical limit to how low the inertial mass of the valve can be reduced. others a cam which has a channel milled into its vertical face which the follower runs in (as opposed to following the outside profile only). the valves are closed simply by return springs. for some of its motorcycle engines. lighter valves and stronger springs are used. One solution to this problem is the desmodromic valve timing system. The drawback of the system is its increased complexity and therefore cost. the speed and therefore power output of the engine is typically limited by the ability to maintain a large volume flow of each of air-fuel mixture and exhaust gas through the respective valve ports. the entire chain of parts being known as the valve train). the camshaft makes one rotation for every two rotations of the crankshaft. Common strategies are to enlarge the valves to take up as much of the cylinder diameter as possible. Some designs use an additional cam and rocker. As the rotational speed of the engine increases. The valve "spring" is actually a piston filled with . and increasing the strength of the valve return spring greatly increases the already considerable wear on the camshaft. or to use multiple smaller valves with more total area.and its motion transmitted by a push rod and rocker. others a crank arrangement similar to the crankshaft. The cam follower then fails to follow the closing profile of the cam. which has for many years. causing the recent development of engines with computer controlled valve operation to optimize the engine's operation at any speed and load. The valve is held closed by a strong spring against the force of which the cam pushes to open it. the time taken for the spring to pull the valve shut can become significant. to lighten the valve train by eliminating parts. This eliminates the valve return spring and uses a mechanical arrangement to both directly open and directly close the valve positively. been a standard strategy for increasing the highspeed capability of an engine Desmodromic valve timing In the vast majority of four-stroke engines. Each valve is needed to open only once during the four-stroke cycle. To reduce this. Assuming the engine is robust enough in design not to break. Therefore a great deal of work goes into designing this part of an engine. One manufacturer using this system is Ducati. The illustrations show an engine with Double overhead cams. Each of these methods has its drawbacks. changing the timing and therefore the engine performance detrimentally. Much higher engine speeds can then be obtained. Therefore.

When the valve is actuated by the cam. a condition that will instantly cause a decrease in output. previously unimaginable engine speeds have become routine. it cannot attain high RPM. the increased pressure in the piston returns the valve to a closed position. and the inertia of the piston rings conspire to cause ring flutter.high pressure nitrogen. while decreasing the stroke. the rapid acceleration of the piston. and as the cam continues its rotation. an engine with a bore that is smaller than its stroke is an undersquare engine. If piston speed exceeds a certain velocity. Conversely. but is liable to make higher torque at low RPM. With this system. Output limit The amount of power output generated by a 4-stroke engine is ultimately limited by piston speed. The only way to decrease the piston speed of any given engine is to increase the bore (cylinder diamerter). an engine with a bore and stroke that are the same is referred to as a square engine . An engine where the bore dimension is larger than the stroke is commonly known as an oversquare engine. In addition. the nitrogen is compressed. Respectively. and such engines have the ability to attain high RPM.

which uses a rotor instead of reciprocating pistons. however Wankel engines are criticized for poor fuel efficiency and exhaust emissions. Today. lightweight engine. the Mazda RX-8. the free encyclopedia. invented by German engineer Felix Wankel. Wankel Engine in Deutsches Museum Munich. unlike the reciprocating motion of a piston engine. and the corners of the rotor seal against the inner periphery of the housing. Although many manufacturers licensed the design. the engine has also been commonly referred to as the "rotary engine". . Introduction Since its introduction in the NSU Motorenwerke AG (NSU) and Mazda cars of the 1960s. dividing it into three combustion chambers. This design promises smooth high-rpm power from a compact. most notably the rotary piston engine once commonly used in aircraft. a single oval (technically an epitrochoid) housing surrounds a three-sided rotor (a Reuleaux triangle) which turns and moves within the housing.Wankel engine From Wikipedia. the four strokes of a typical Otto cycle engine are arranged sequentially around an oval. only Mazda has produced Wankel engines in large numbers. [edit] How it works In the Wankel engine. The sides of the rotor seal against the sides of the housing. In the basic single rotor Wankel engine. as well other rotary combustion engine designs such as a more recent concept called the Quasiturbine. Germany The Wankel rotary engine is a type of internal combustion engine. however. that name also applies to a wide variety of other engine designs. the engine is only available in a single Mazda car currently produced.

because valving is accomplished by simple ports . this becomes one combustion 'stroke' per output shaft revolution per rotor. and similar to the output of a two stroke cycle engine. [edit] Advantages Wankel engines have several major advantages over reciprocating piston designs. some racing regulatory agencies view it as offering so pronounced an advantage that they ban it altogether. For instance. twice as many as the four-stroke piston engine. Ignition (red). compressing and expanding the combustion chamber similarly to the "strokes" in a reciprocating engine. in addition to having higher output for similar displacement and physical size. Thus. National agencies which tax automobiles according to displacement and regulatory bodies in automobile racing variously consider the Wankel engine to be equivalent to a four-stroke engine of 1. Compression (green). power output of a Wankel engine is generally higher than that of a four-stroke piston engine of similar engine displacement in a similar state of tune. and higher than that of a four-stroke piston engine of similar physical dimensions and weight. Exhaust (yellow) As the rotor turns. one half power stroke per revolution per cylinder) each combustion chamber of each rotor in the Wankel generates one combustion 'stroke' per revolution (that is.5 to 2 times the displacement. However. Wankel engines are considerably simpler and contain far fewer moving parts. three power strokes per rotor revolution). Since the Wankel output shaft is geared to spin at three times the rotor speed. its motion and shape and the shape of the housing cause each side of the rotor to get closer and farther from the wall of the housing. whereas a normal four stroke cycle engine produces one combustion stroke per cylinder for every two revolutions (that is.The Wankel cycle: Intake (cyan).

it also leads to incomplete combustion of the air-fuel charge. The simplicity of design and smaller size of the Wankel engine also allow for a savings in construction costs. the shape of the Wankel combustion chamber and the turbulence induced by the moving rotor prevent localized hot spots from forming. but the company was then confronted with a sudden global concern over both hydrocarbon emission and a rise in the cost of gasoline. The elimination of these parts not only makes a Wankel engine much lighter (typically half that of a conventional engine with equivalent power). a particular advantage for Hydrogen cars.cut into the walls of the rotor housing. Just as the shape of the Wankel combustion chamber prevents preignition. ensures that even when grossly overheated the Wankel engine will not seize. This feature also led to a great deal of interest in the Soviet Union. they have no valves or complex valve trains. a conventional crankshaft. Further engineering work by Mazda brought these problems under control. At first. but it also completely eliminates the reciprocating mass of a piston engine with its internal strain and inherent vibration due to repetitious acceleration and deceleration. etc. as an overheated piston engine is likely to do. [edit] Disadvantages The design of the Wankel engine requires numerous sliding seals and a housing that is typically built as a sandwich of cast iron and aluminum pieces that expand and contract by different degrees when exposed to heating and cooling cycles in use. As another advantage. the construction of the engine. in addition. since the rotor is geared directly to the output shaft. In addition to the enhanced reliability due to the elimination of this reciprocating strain on internal parts. producing not only a smoother flow of power but also the ability to produce more power by running at higher rpm. there is no need for connecting rods. both between the rotor and the housing and also between the various pieces making up the housing. this has substantial benefit for aircraft use. with the remaining unburned hydrocarbons released into the exhaust. Mazda was able to avoid this cost by paradoxically enriching the air/fuel mixture enough to produce an exhaust stream which was rich enough in hydrocarbons to actually support complete combustion in a 'thermal reactor' (just an enlarged open . the two most serious drawbacks of the Wankel engine. while manufacturers of piston-engine cars were turning to expensive catalytic converters to completely oxidize the unburned hydrocarbons. with an iron rotor within a housing made of aluminum which has greater thermal expansion. where high octane gasoline was rare. compared to piston engines of comparable power output. thereby allowing the use of fuel of very low octane number without preignition or detonation. crankshaft balance weights. These elements led to a very high incidence of loss of sealing.

the RE-5. have been fixed in the engine of the RX-8. After occasional use in automobiles. The ports. it negates a great deal of the relative simplicity and lower cost of the Wankel engine construction. are now placed to the rear of the engine. had a major research effort in rotary engines and designed a version which was capable of using a variety of fuels without changing the engine. History Wankel first conceived his rotary engine in 1924 and finally received a patent for it in 1929. and abortive attempts by General Motors and Mercedes Benz to design Wankel-engine automobiles. . thereby producing a clean exhaust at the cost of some extra fuel consumption. formerly on the sides. the most extensive automotive use of the Wankel engine has been by the Japanese company Mazda. however. They were of particular interest because they were smooth and very quiet running. The complex shapes of the rotor. but even the basically lower fuel economy of the Wankel engine caused sales to drop alarmingly. and the reliability resulting from their simplicity. The main problems with the engine. their switch to this solution was immediately followed by a sharp rise in the cost of gasoline worldwide. While this technique has been used successfully in Wankel powered racing cars. Citroën with the M35 and GS Birotor using engines produced by Comotor. housing. Norton Motorcycles developed a Wankel rotary engine for motorcycles. for instance by NSU with their Ro 80 model. He worked through the 1940s to improve the design. The design was proposed as the power source for several US Marine combat vehicles in the late 1980s. and output shaft and the way they fit together requires that engines with more than two rotors use an output shaft made of several sections assembled during the assembly of the rest of the engine. in the US. so that not only the added fuel cost of their 'thermal reactor' design. which was included in their Commander. Unfortunately for Mazda. Considerable effort went into designing rotary engines in the 1950s and 1960s. Suzuki also produced a production motorcycle with a Wankel engine.chamber in the exhaust manifold) without the need for a catalytic converter. In Britain. Another disadvantage of the Wankel engine is the difficulty of expanding the engine to more than two rotors. Fuel consumption is within normal limits while passing California State emissions requirements. John Deere Inc.

#880628. but received considerable attention with their 1991 Eunos Cosmo. but even less is known in the West about the work done there. The company normally used two-rotor designs.3 liter displacement at better fuel economy. notably the smoothness. little specific information has surfaced in the outside world. which used a twin-turbo three-rotor engine. However they had the very bad luck of being released in the middle of efforts to decrease emissions and increase fuel economy.3-Rotor Eunos Cosmo engine After years of development. operates several venues in the United States where a customer can purchase several laps around a track in a vehicle very similar to open wheel racing vehicles. The company followed with a number of Wankel ("rotary" in the company's terminology) vehicles. but continued using it in their RX-7 sports car until August of 2002 (although RX-7 importation for North America ceased with the 1995 model year). This new engine relocated the ports for exhaust and intake from the peripheral of the rotary housing to the sides. and environmental friendliness than any other Mazda rotary engine in history. Mazda's first Wankel engined car was the 1967 Mazda Cosmo. is known to have produced Wankel engines for aircraft and helicopters. threerotor. allowing for larger overall ports. Customers generally loved them. Mazda has had substantial success with two-rotor. Mazda re-launched the rotary with the new RX-8. Mazda later abandoned the Wankel in most of their automotive designs. In 2003. including a bus and a pickup truck. Comotor. what has been seen indicates a general similarity to Wankel designs by NSU. The Malibu Grand Prix chain. and Aviadvigatel. and further power gains. the Soviet aircraft engine design bureau. Although VAZ. the probable reason for their being hidden. the Soviet automobile manufacturer. similar in concept to commercial recreational kart racing tracks. is known to have produced Wankel-engine automobiles. in 1974. The People's Republic of China is also known to have experimented with Wankel engines. reliability. Automobile racing In the racing world. and four-rotor cars. therefore it is likely that many Western patents were infringed upon by these designs. delivered to the SAE in 1988 by Chen Teluan of the South China Institute of Technology at Guangzhou. and Mazda. The Sigma MC74 powered by a Mazda 12A engine was the first engine and team from outside Western Europe or the United States to finish the entire 24 hours of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. better airflow. but powered by a small Curtiss-Wright rotary engine. other than one paper. The renesis is capable of delivering 238 horsepower from its minute 1. and private racers have also had considerable success with stock and modified Mazda Wankel-engine cars. Mazda is the only team from outside Western Europe or the United States to have won Le Mans outright .

starting in 1982. and when it later became clear that the jet engine was far too expensive for all roles. Since 1991. manufacture Wankel rotary engines dedicated for the purpose. which the company accomplished in 1991 with their four-rotor 787B (2622 cc actual displacement. spectators. so that they are extremely reliable and can go years between motor rebuilds. Nevertheless. and the introduction of better materials has helped the tip-seal (Apex-seal) problem. in 1968 or 1969.S. They are in a relatively mild state of racing tune. Army's reconnaissance QT-2. others. Aircraft Wankels have made something of a comeback in recent years. or UAVs. adaptable to both oval tracks and road courses. reliability. the professionally organized Star Mazda Series has been the most popular format for sponsors. The RX7 won the IMSA Grand Touring Under Two Liter (GTU) championship each year from 1980 through 1987. Formula Mazda Racing features open-wheel race cars with Mazda Wankel engines. certified to produce the prescribed power. and upward bound drivers. inclusive. Mazda is also the most reliable finisher at LeMans (with the exception of Honda. which many believed would be the only engine in use within a decade. Many companies and hobbyists adapt Mazda rotary engines to aircraft use. They are being found increasingly in roles where their compact size and quiet running is important. basically a powered Schweizer sailplane. but it was at this same time that almost the entire industry was moving to the jet engine. the general aviation world had already shrunk so much that there was little money for new engine designs. None of their advantages have been lost in comparison to other engines. 1990. The Mazda RX-7 has won more IMSA races in its class than any other model of automobile. The Wankel suffered from a lack of interest. notably in drones. the RX-7 won its class in the IMSA 24 hours of Daytona race ten years in a row.and the only non-piston engine ever to win Le Mans. who have entered only three cars in only one year). interest in them for small aircraft has continued. including Wankel GmbH itself. rated by FIA formula at 4708 cc). The engines are all built by one engine builder. [edit] Other uses . and sealed to discourage tampering. Following that. on several levels of competition. with 67% of entries finishing. There was intense interest in them in this role in the 1950s when the design was first becoming well known. with its one hundredth victory on September 2. The first rotary-engine aircraft was the experimental Lockheed Q-Star civilian version of the U. Aircraft engines The Wankel's superb power-to-weight ratio. and small frontal area make it particularly well suited to aircraft engine use. It was powered by a 185 horsepower (138 kW) Curtiss-Wright RC2-60 Wankel rotary engine.

27 horsepower (947 W) 5 cc Wankel engine for model airplane use which has been in production essentially unchanged since 1970. The simplicity of the Wankel makes it ideal for mini. Quasiturbine . and superchargers for internal combustion engines. In a design using a Wankel supercharger on a Wankel engine. but in these cases. and micro-mini engine designs. and thereby the maximum size of the cylinder or rotor chamber which can be used. although the design still offers advantages in reliability. this was particularly well chosen. the supercharger is twice the size of the engine! Perhaps the most exotic use of the Wankel design is in the seat belt pretensioner system of the Volkswagen New Beetle. anchoring the driver and passengers firmly in the seat before any collision. small explosive cartridges are triggered electrically and the resulting pressurized gas feeds into tiny Wankel engines which rotate to take up the slack in the seat belt systems. the fixed speed at which the flame front travels limits the distance combustion can travel from the point of ignition in a given time.4 ounces (380 grams).1 cm³. displacing 41 liters per rotor with a rotor approximately one meter in diameter. The largest Wankel engine was built by Ingersoll-Rand. The goal is to eventually develop an internal combustion engine that will deliver 100 milliwatts of electrical power. as one of the major uses of the engine was to drive pumps on natural gas pipelines. Materials include silicon and motive power includes compressed air. available in 550 horsepower (410 kW) one rotor and 1100 horsepower (820 kW) two rotor versions. personal water craft and auxiliary power units for aircraft. which failed because of a wellknown problem with all internal combustion engines. Curtiss-Wright design.Small Wankel engines are being found increasingly in other roles. It was derived from a previous. it was available between 1975 and 1985. 49-PI is a 1. Aside from being used for internal combustion engines. unsuccessful. such as gokarts. micro. The MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) Rotary Engine Lab at the University of California. the engine itself will serve as the rotor of the generator. the basic advantages of the Wankel in size and weight over the four-stroke internal combustion engine are irrelevant. Berkeley has been developing Wankel engines of down to 1 mm in diameter with displacements less than 0.S. In this car. the entire package weighs only 13. The Graupner/O. the basic Wankel design has also been utilized for air compressors. This problem was solved by limiting the engine speed to only 1200 rpm and use of natural gas as fuel. with magnets built into the engine rotor itself. even with a large muffler. when deceleration sensors sense a potential crash.

Ignition (red). creating regions of increasing and decreasing volumes as the rotor turns. Compression (fuchsia). invented by the Saint-Hilaire family and first patented in 1996. Definition : The Quasiturbine (Qurbine) is a no crankshaft rotary engine having a 4-faced articulated rotor with a free and accessible centre. In the basic single rotor Quasiturbine engine. or pump. rotating without vibration or dead time. steam engine. The engine uses a foursided articulated rotor that turns within a curve of constant width. an optimal combustion type. Exhaust (black). The Quasiturbine is also an optimization theory for extremely compact and efficient engine concepts. gas compressor. The Quasiturbine combustion cycle: Intake (aqua). unlike the reciprocating motion of a piston engine. Contents [show] [edit] How it works In the Quasiturbine engine.From Wikipedia. an oval housing surrounds a four-sided articulated rotor which turns and moves within the housing. The Quasiturbine design can also be used as an air motor. . the four strokes of a typical cycle de Beau de Rochas (Otto cycle) are arranged sequentially around a near oval. and the corners of the rotor seal against the inner periphery. A spark plug is located at the top (green) The Quasiturbine engine is a type of rotary combustion engine. and producing a strong torque at low RPM under a variety of modes and fuels. It is capable of burning fuel using photodetonation. hot air engine. the free encyclopedia. The sides of the rotor seal against the sides of the housing.

its motion and the shape of the housing cause each side of the housing to get closer and farther from the rotor. one half power stroke per revolution per cylinder. where high surface-to-volume ratio is an attenuating factor of the violence of the detonation. and contain no gears and far fewer moving parts. Because its center of mass is immobile during rotation. whereas a four stroke cycle engine produces one combustion stroke per cylinder for every two revolutions.e. the Quasiturbine can be driven by compressed air or steam without synchronized valve. Because the Quasiturbine has no crankshaft. which provides very different characteristics from the piston or the Wankel engine. Due to the absence of dead time between strokes. [edit] Advantages Quasiturbine engines are simpler. the internal volume variations do not follow the usual sinusoidal engine movement. . because intake and exhaust are openings cut into the walls of the rotor housing. As the rotor turns. and also with liquid as hydraulic motor or pump. combustion of hydrogen and compatibility with photo-detonation mode in Quasiturbine with carriages.dividing it into four chambers. but stays at a constant distance from the engine center at all time. This simplicity and small size allows for a savings in construction costs. In contrast to the Wankel engine where the crankshaft moves the rotary piston face inward and outward. producing only pure tangential rotational forces. For instance. the Quasiturbine tends to have very little or no vibrations. compressing and expanding the chambers similarly to the "strokes" in a reciprocating engine. the Quasiturbine rotor face rocks back and forth with reference to the engine radius. the four chambers of the Quasiturbine rotor generate four combustion "strokes" per rotor revolution. i. However. Other claimed advantages include high torque at low rpm. there are no valves or valve trains. this is eight times more than a four-stroke piston engine.

jet skis and other watercraft. The Quasiturbine has a four-sided articulated rotor. It has no synchronization gears and no crankshaft. A similar problem was encountered in early Wankel engines but engineering development has brought these problems under control for both engines. Variations on the basic Quasiturbine design also have applications as air compressors and as turbochargers/superchargers. [edit] Wankel comparison The Quasiturbine is superficially similar to the Wankel engine. Gilles Saint-Hilaire. powered parachutes. The general concept of the Quasiturbine was first patented in 1996. which moves the rotor faces radially inward and outward. which allows carriage types to shape . rotating on a circular supporting track with a shaft rotating at the same speed as the rotor. a thermonuclear physicist. they had to disconnect the blades from the main shaft. The Wankel engine has a single rigid triangular rotor synchronized by gears with the housing. the Wankel has near sinusoidal volume pulse characteristics like the piston. The original objective was to make a turbo-shaft turbine engine where the compressor portion and the power portion would be in the same plane. but is quite distinct from it. and driven by a crankshaft rotating at three times the rotor speed. snowmobiles. and chain them around in such a way that a single rotor acts as a compressor for a quarter turn. Small pneumatic and steam units are available for research. [edit] Potential applications The Quasiturbine's high power-to-weight ratio makes it exceptionally suitable for aircraft engine and its no-vibration attributes make it suitable for use in. and as an engine the following quarter of a turn.etc. In order to achieve this. aircraft. Similar combustion prototypes are also intended for demonstration.Quasiturbine configured as a steam engine [edit] Disadvantages The design of the Quasiturbine engine is typically built of aluminum and cast iron which expand and contract by different degrees when exposed to heat leading to some incidence of leakage. [edit] History The Quasiturbine was conceived by a group of 4 researchers lead by Dr. The Wankel attempt to realize the four strokes with a three-sided rotor. for example: chainsaws. academic training and industrial demonstration. limits overlapping port optimization. a Quasiturbine engine was demonstrated on a go-kart. In November 2004. and because of the crankshaft.

while photo-detonation is a volumetric combustion driven by intense radiation in the combustion chamber. The Wankel geometry further imposes a top dead center residual volume which limits its compression ratio and prevents compliance with the Pressure-Volume diagram. Diesel combustion is driven by thermal ignition. . the rotor does not. Photo-detonation engines do not need intake vacuum as they intake all the air available. gasoline piston engine is driven by thermal combustion wave. [edit] Photo-detonation Photo-detonation is the optimum combustion mode. while the Quasiturbine contour seals are almost perpendicular to the housing at all time. knocking detonation is driven by a supersonic shock wave. and with rapid linear rising and falling ramps. for a 30% less elongated combustion chamber. as it stops its rotation (even reverses) near top dead center. which vacuum become less as the power produced by the engine increases. The efficiency of a 200 kW gas piston engine falls dramatically when used at 20 kW because of high vacuum depressurization needed in the intake manifold. This kind of volume pulse is photo-detonation self-synchronizing and reduces the immense stresses by shortening the high pressure duration. While the Wankel engine requires dual (or more) out-of-phase rotors for vibration compensation. The Wankel engine divides the perimeter into three sections while the Quasiturbine divides it into four. with a high pressure tip 15 to 30 times shorter that the piston or Wankel volume pulse. and mainly for this reason. While the Wankel shaft rotates continuously. [edit] Efficiency at low power The modern high-power piston engine in automobiles is generally used with only a 15% average load factor. because its center of mass is immobile during rotation. while the Quasiturbine has none which allows continuous combustion by flame transfer. the pressure pulse can be shaped like the minuscule cursive letter " i ". the Wankel apex seals intercept the housing contour at variable angles from -60 to +60 degrees. The Wankel has three 30 degree dead times per rotor rotation. efficiency stays high even at low engine power. During rotation. including achieving photo-detonation. a mode the sinusoidal piston or Wankel pressure pulse shape cannot withstand. an important rotor angular velocity modulation generating strong internal stresses not present in the Quasiturbine. Because the Quasiturbine has no crankshaft and can have carriages. the Quasiturbine is suitable as a single rotor engine."almost at will" the pressure pulse characteristics for specific needs. and allows it to be driven by compressed air or steam without synchronized valves (also by liquid as a hydraulic motor or pump). like a laser volumetric combustion.

maintenance and cost. it may be decades before it is ready to be a competitive technology for vehicles Gas turbine . Because the engine is still in the prototype phase. photodetonating engine will not provide one of the most important benefits of hybrid technology. And although a working prototype has now been constructed. and may offer reduction in the overall propulsion system weight.The development of a photo-detonation engine may provide a means to avoid that low-power-efficiency-penalty. Furthermore. There is a 50% fuel saving potential. cost and environmental recycling process. [edit] Hybrid alternative It is the purpose of the hybrid car concept to avoid the low efficiency of the Otto cycle engine at reduced power. may be more environment friendly as it will require low octane additive-free gasoline or diesel fuel. However. including direct hydrogen combustion. But getting extra efficiency this way requires additional power components and energy storage. maintenance. may be multi-fuel compatible. it has not been proven that the Quasiturbine engine would be able to use the hoped for photo-detonation. The development of a photodetonation engine like the Quasiturbine would provide more direct means to achieve the same or better. space. there are no results indicating fuel consumption per unit power. with associated counter-productive increases in weight. a vehicle powered by a Quasiturbine. size. For these reasons it could be better or competitive with hybrid car technology. of which about half could be harvested the hybrid way. without additional equipment. regenerative braking.

The limiting factor is the ability of the steel. Combustion increases the temperature.This machine has a single-stage radial compressor and turbine. in any combination. This is directed through a diffuser (nozzle) over the turbine's blades. trains. Energy is extracted in the form of shaft power. and even tanks Theory of operation Gas turbines are described thermodynamically by the Brayton cycle.) Energy is added to the gas stream in the combustor. Considerable engineering goes into keeping the . a recuperator. where air is mixed with fuel and ignited.generators. ships. A gas turbine is a rotary engine that extracts energy from a flow of combustion gas. As with all cyclic heat engines. and used to power aircraft. compressed air and thrust. (Gas turbine may also refer to just the turbine element. or other materials that make up the engine to withstand heat and pressure. ceramic. combustion occurs at constant pressure. and a combustion chamber inbetween. spinning the turbine and powering the compressor. higher combustion temperature means greater efficiency. It has an upstream compressor coupled to a downstream turbine. and expansion over the turbine occurs isentropically back to the starting pressure. velocity and volume of the gas flow. and foil bearings. in which air is compressed isentropically.

turbine parts cool. Traditionally. Thrust bearings and journal bearings are a critical part of design. and a vast system of complex piping. Combined cycle designs pass waste heat to steam turbine systems. This is giving way to hydrodynamic foil bearings.600 rpm to match the AC power grid. They require a dedicated building.)edit Jet engines See jet engine page. . which have become common place in micro turbines and APU’s (auxiliary power units. combustors and heat exchangers. Powerplant gas turbines range in size from truck-mounted mobile plants to enormous. More sophisticated turbines may have multiple shafts (spools).] Gas turbines for electrical power production GE H series power generation gas turbine. hundreds of turbine blades. spin faster. And combined heat and power (co-generation) uses waste heat for hot water production. not counting the fuel system. which otherwise is wasted energy. Smaller turbines.000 or 3.000 rpm and micro turbines around 100. This 400-megawatt unit has a rated thermal efficiency of 60% in combined cycle configurations. or oil-cooled ball bearings. Mechanically. Jet engines operate around 10. gas turbines can be considerably less complex than internal combustion piston engines. prior to combustion. movable stator blades. Most turbines also try to recover exhaust heat. complex systems. they have been hydrodynamic oil bearings. Simple turbines might have one moving part: the shaft/compressor/turbine/alternator-rotor assembly (see image above). The largest gas turbines operate at 3. Recuperators are heat exchangers that pass exhaust heat to the compressed air. with fewer compressor/turbine stages.000 rpm.

supplying power during peak demand. Their other main advantage is the ability to be turned on and off within minutes. for example. [edit] Micro turbines A micro turbine designed for DARPA by M-Dot Also known as: Turbo alternators • Gensets • MicroTurbine® (registered trademark of Capstone Turbine Corporation) • Turbogenerator ® (registered tradenameHoneywell Power Systems) • Micro turbines are becoming wide spread for distributed power and combined heat and power applications. Simple cycle gas turbines in the power industry require smaller capital investment than combined cycle gas. the actual construction process can take a little as several weeks to a few months. coal or nuclear plants and can be designed to generate small or large amounts of power. Also. Large simple cycle gas turbines may produce several hundred megawatts of power and approach 40 percent thermal efficiency. the generator to be integrated with the turbine shaft. This allows. Part of their success is due to advances in electronics. which allow unattended operation and interfacing with the commercial power grid. They range from handheld units producing less than a kilowatt to commercial sized systems that produce tens or hundreds of kilowatts. . compared to years for baseload plants. and to double as the starter motor. Electronic power switching technology eliminates the need for the generator to be synchronized with the power grid.They can be particularly efficient—up to 60 percent—when waste heat from the gas turbine is recovered by a conventional steam turbine in a combined cycle configuration.

A number of experiments have been conducted with gas turbine powered automobiles. which create cold for air conditioning from heat energy instead of electric energy.Micro turbine systems have many advantages over piston engine generators. They accept most commercial fuels. at a turbine speed of 50. also abbreviated APUs. but fuel consumption problems proved insurmountable for a production car. The twoseater JET1 had the engine positioned behind the seats. piston engine generators are quicker to respond to changes in output power requirement. moving part. During tests. the car reached top speeds of 140 km/h. Exhaust heat can be used for water heating. propane. However.000 rpm. Recuperators are difficult to design and manufacture because they operate under high pressure and temperature differentials. The are also able to produce renewable energy when fueled with biogas from landfills and sewage treatment plants. Those designed with foil bearings and air-cooling operate without oil. Micro turbine designs usually consist of a single stage radial compressor. designer F. It is currently on display at the London Science Museum. locomotives. The Perrys' APUs are large electric motors that provide maneuvering help in close waters. a single stage radial turbine and a recuperator. Nye Thermodynamics Corporation [1] is developing a wood fueled microturbine for cogeneration applications. R. or emergency backup if the gas turbines are not working. start-up power for larger jet engines. Bell and Chief Engineer Maurice Wilks from British car manufacturers Rover unveiled the first car powered with a gas turbine engine. and in the M1 Abrams and T-80 tanks. such as natural gas. aboard the gas-turbine-powered Oliver Hazard Perry-class guidedmissile frigates. and electrical and hydraulic power. (These are not to be confused with the auxiliary propulsion units. [edit] Auxiliary power units APUs are small gas turbines designed for auxiliary power of larger machines. paraffin or diesel oil. They are well suited for supplying compressed air for aircraft ventilation (with an appropriate compressor design). diesel and kerosene. extremely low emissions and few. usually aircraft. helicopters. In 1950. When in a combined heat and power cogeneration system. such as higher power density (with respect to footprint and weight). or just one.) [edit] Gas turbines in vehicles Gas turbines are used on ships. Typical micro turbine efficiencies are 25 to 35 percent. efficiencies of greater than 80 percent are commonly achieved. drying processes or absorption chillers. The car ran on petrol. Rover and the BRM Formula One team joined . coolants or other hazardous materials. air intake grilles on either side of the car and exhaust outlets on the top of the tail.

which entered the 1963 24 hours of Le Mans. though this is partly because piston engines have been mass-produced in huge quantities for decades. Capstone currently lists on their website a version of their turbines designed for installation in hybrid vehicles. in the 1950's an FV214 Conqueror tank Heavy Tank was experimentally fitted with a Parsons 650 hp gas-turbine. This high-priced machine is produced in miniscule numbers.their superior performance at high altitude compared to piston engines. they tend to give rise to manufacturing businesses over time. A history of Chrysler turbine cars. See external links for resources. The turbine design included a recuperator. research is active in producing ever smaller gas turbines. while small turbines are rarities. Production gas turbine motorcycle first appeared in MTT Turbine SUPERBIKE in 2000. Firstly. Their power-to-weight advantage is far less irrelevant in automobile applications. small turbines are fundamentally less fuel-efficient than small piston engines. Their use in hybrids reduces the second problem. A Williams International 40 kW turbine drove an alternator which powered the battery-electric powertrain. specifically CFD and finite element analysis along with material advances. Computer design. Secondly. [edit] Amateur gas turbines Kurt Schreckling pioneered home constructed turbojet engines for model aircraft. Their use in military tanks has been more successful. There are several small businesses producing plans. has allowed higher . kits and assembled turbines. Finally.forces to produce a gas turbine powered coupe. turbines have historically been more expensive to produce than piston engines. Like many technology based hobbies. It averaged 107.8 mph (173 km) and had a top speed of 142 mph (229 km/h). but there remain unchanged three main reasons why small turbines have not succeeded in an automotive application. driven by Graham Hill and Richie Ginther. A combustion chamber is fabricated and plumbed between the compressor and turbine. In 1993 General Motors introduced the first commercial gas turbine powered hybrid vehicle—as a limited production run of the EV-1. A popular hobby is to construct a gas turbine from an automotive turbocharger. [edit] Advances in technology Gas turbine technology has steadily advanced since its inception and continues to evolve. this problem is exacerbated by the requirement for automotive engines to run efficiently at idle and low throttle openings. It is also worth noting that a key advantage of jets and turboprops for aeroplane propulsion . As well as their production use in the T-80 and Abrams. American car manufacturer Chrysler demonstrated several prototype gas turbine-powered cars from the early 1950s through the early 1980s. Gas turbines do offer a high-powered engine in a very small and light package. particularly naturally-aspirated ones . turbines are notably inefficient at this.

The first U. usually O2. a compound reacts with an oxidizing element. and the products are compounds of each element in the fuel with the oxidizing element. the first of which (HMS Ashanti) was commissioned in 1961. gas-turbine powered ships. a modified Wasp-class amphibious assault ship.S. The first gas-turbine-powered naval vessel was the Royal Navy's Motor Gun Boat MGB 2009 (formerly MGB 509) converted in 1947. USS Makin Island. which do not require an oil system and can run unattended for months on end.S. For example: CH2S + 6 F2 → CF4 + 2 HF + SF6 + heat Rapid combustion . Combustion . Combustion or burning is an exothermic reaction between a substance (the fuel) and a gas (the oxidizer).S. more efficient combustion. Spruance-class and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. They can withstand over a hundred thousand start/stop cycles and eliminated the need for an oil system. were the Royal Navy's Type 81 (Tribal class) frigates. gas-turbine powered ships were the U. microelectronics and power switching technology have enabled commercially viable micro turbines for distributed and vehicle power.compression ratios and temperatures. In a complete combustion reaction. Coast Guard's Hamilton-class High Endurance Cutters the first of which (USCGC Hamilton) commissioned in 1967. they have powered the U. An excellent example is the Capstone line of micro turbines. is to be the Navy's first amphib powered by gas turbines. where they are valued for their high power-toweight ratio and their ships' resulting acceleration and ability to get underway quickly. Since then. On another front. compliant foil bearings were commercially introduced to gas turbines in the 1990s. The first large. Navy's Perry-class frigates. [edit] Naval use Gas turbines are used in many naval vessels. to release heat. and Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers. Additionally. better cooling of engine parts and reduced emissions.

[edit] Chemical equation Generally. [edit] Slow combustion Slow combustion is a form of combustion which takes place at low temperatures. such as internal combustion engines. and iron are burned. When a hydrocarbon burns in oxygen. the chemical equation for burning a hydrocarbon (such as octane) in oxygen is as follows: CxHy + (x + y/4)O2 → xCO2 + (y/2)H2O For example. Respiration is an example of slow combustion. and in fuel-air explosives. the reaction will only yield carbon dioxide and water. the reactant will burn in oxygen. and various other compounds such as nitrogen oxides. where sufficient oxygen for complete combustion is lacking. water. Carbon will yield carbon dioxide. Nitrogen will yield nitrogen dioxide. [edit] Incomplete combustion In incomplete combustion. Iron will yield iron(III) oxide. Complete combustion is generally impossible to achieve unless the reaction occurs in a lab environment where all the conditions are being controlled. the burning of propane is: C3H8 + 5O2 → 3CO2 + 4H2O . the reactant will burn in oxygen. they will yield the most common oxides. carbon monoxide. but will produce numerous products. these byproducts can be quite lethal and damaging to the environment. sulfur. [edit] Complete combustion In complete combustion. nitrogen. When elements such as carbon. When a hydrocarbon burns in oxygen. the reaction will yield carbon dioxide. and in the case of burning fuel in automobiles. This is used in forms of machinery. Incomplete combustion is much more common and will produce large amounts of byproducts. Sulfur will yield sulfur dioxide.Rapid combustion is a form of combustion in which large amounts of heat and light energy are released. producing a limited amount of products. This often occurs as a fire.

e. Mississippi Spacecraft propulsion is used to change the velocity of spacecraft and artificial satellites. or in short. Spacecraft propulsion From Wikipedia.The simple word equation for the combustion of a hydrocarbon is: Fuel + Oxygen → Heat + Water + Carbon dioxide. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County. In the case of fossil fuels burnt in air. oxygen or air). This formula for this temperature is based on the first law of thermodynamics and takes note of the fact that the heat of combustion generated during combustion (calculated from the fuel's heating value) is used entirely for warming up fuel and gas (e. Each method has drawbacks and advantages. Most . to provide delta-v. the adiabatic combustion temperatures for coals are around 1500 deg C (for inlet temperatures of room temperatures and λ = 1. the combustion temperature depends on the heating value the stoichiometric air ratio λ • the heat capacity of fuel and air • air and fuel inlet temperatures • • The adiabatic combustion temperature increases for higher heating values and inlet temperatures and stoiciometric ratios towards one. Typically. around 2000 deg C for oil and 2200 deg C for natural gas. such as an adiabatic (i.0).g. There are many different methods. the free encyclopedia. no heat loss) and complete combustion. [edit] Combustion temperatures Assuming perfect combustion conditions. the adiabatic combustion temperature can be determined. (Redirected from Rocket engine) A remote camera captures a close-up view of a Space Shuttle Main Engine during a test firing at the John C. and spacecraft propulsion is an active area of research.

though some (such as the Pegasus rocket and SpaceShipOne) have used air-breathing engines on their first stage. Artist's conception of a solar sail . although some use momentum wheels for attitude control. This sort of engine is called a rocket engine. When a satellite has exhausted its ability to adjust its orbit. Most satellites have simple reliable chemical rockets (often monopropellant rockets) or resistojet rockets to keep their station. All current spacecraft use chemical rocket engines (bipropellant or solid-fuel) for launch. although a few have experimentally used ion thrusters with some success (a form of electric propulsion). so that to stay in orbit for a long period of time some form of propulsion is occasionally necessary to make small corrections (orbital stationkeeping). The simplest fuel-efficient means to move from one circular orbit to another is with a Hohmann transfer orbit: the spacecraft begins in a roughly circular orbit around the Sun. Newer geo-orbiting spacecraft are starting to use electric propulsion for north-south stationkeeping. and this also requires propulsion. A short period of thrust in the direction of motion accelerates or decelerates the spacecraft into an elliptical orbit around the Sun which is tangential to its previous orbit and also to the orbit of its destination. Spacecraft designed to travel further also need propulsion methods. For interplanetary travel. The spacecraft falls freely along this elliptical orbit until it reaches its destination. and possibly some astronomical object of interest. Once there. its useful life is over. Interplanetary vehicles mostly use chemical rockets as well. They are also subject to drag from the thin atmosphere. Once in the desired orbit. They need to be launched out of the Earth's atmosphere just as do satellites. Many satellites need to be moved from one orbit to another from time to time.spacecraft today are propelled by heating the reaction mass and allowing it to flow out the back of the vehicle. they need to leave orbit and move around. they often need some form of attitude control so that they are correctly pointed with respect to the Earth. and once there they must accelerate to circularize their orbit. where another short period of thrust accelerates or decelerates it to match the orbit of its destination. Current interplanetary spacecraft do this with a series of short-term orbital adjustments. Special methods such as aerobraking are sometimes used for this final orbital adjustment. the Sun. the spacecraft simply falls freely along its orbit. it must somehow make its way to its destination. Once it has done so. Contents [show] [edit] The necessity for propulsion systems Artificial satellites must be launched into orbit. a spacecraft must use its engines to leave Earth orbit. In between these adjustments.

Acquiring such a velocity on launch and getting rid of it on arrival will be a formidable challenge for spacecraft designers. but many designs have been discussed. an interplanetary vehicle using one of these methods would follow a rather different trajectory. it needs two things: reaction mass and energy. Since interstellar distances are very great. a tremendous velocity is needed to get a spacecraft to its destination in a reasonable amount of time. The impulse provided by launching a particle of reaction mass having mass m at velocity v is mv.Some spacecraft propulsion methods such as solar sails provide very low but inexhaustible thrust. providing the energy. This means that for maneuvering in space. In a conventional solid fuel rocket. The rate of change of velocity is called acceleration. providing the reaction mass. [edit] Effectiveness of propulsion systems When in space. a propulsion method that produces tiny accelerations but runs for a long time can produce the same impulse as a propulsion method that produces large accelerations for a short time. A few designs take advantage of things like magnetic fields or light pressure in order to change the spacecraft's momentum. Spacecraft for interstellar travel also need propulsion methods. which must come from somewhere. Such mass is called reaction mass. To reach a given velocity. But this particle has kinetic energy mv2/2. An ion engine test In order for a rocket to work. or one can apply a large acceleration over a short time. mv. the purpose of a propulsion system is to change the velocity v of a spacecraft. either constantly thrusting against its direction of motion in order to decrease its distance from the Sun or constantly thrusting along its direction of motion to increase its distance from the Sun. When launching a spacecraft from the Earth. No such spacecraft has yet been built. electricity is . In an ion thruster. The amount of change in momentum is called impulse. one can apply a small acceleration over a long period of time. The law of conservation of momentum means that in order for a propulsion method to change the momentum of a space craft it must change the momentum of something else as well. and the rate of change of momentum is called force. and the reaction products are allowed to flow out the back. So the goal of a propulsion method in space is to create an impulse. designers generally discuss momentum. Since this is more difficult for more massive spacecraft. one can achieve a given impulse with a large force over a short time or a small force over a long time. a propulsion method must overcome the Earth's gravitational pull in addition to providing acceleration. the fuel is burned. but in free space the rocket must bring along some mass to accelerate away in order to push itself forward. When launching from a planet. tiny accelerations cannot overcome the planet's gravitational pull and so cannot be used. Similarly.

when launching from or landing on a planet. For a mission. It is typical to combine the effects of these and other effects into an effective mission delta-v. energy can in principle be produced without much difficulty. This is known as the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation: For a long voyage. speeds much higher than the exhaust velocity require very high ratios of fuel mass to payload and structural mass. This corresponds to metres per second (m/s). for example. it must also provide a large amount of energy per second. Here some other source must provide the electrical energy (perhaps a solar panel or a nuclear reactor) while the ions provide the reaction mass. Every engine will waste some energy. P is the mass of the payload (including the rocket structure). In order to achieve this. indeed usually most of it. the kinetic energy is proportional to the square of the exhaust velocity. As a result. If Δv is comparable to ve. then there needs to be about twice as much fuel as combined payload and structure (which includes engines. So highly efficient engines require enormous amounts of energy per second to produce high thrusts.some of it. A second problem is that if the engine is to provide a large amount of thrust. After all. some amount of energy must go into accelerating the reaction mass. . The total Δv of a vehicle can be calculated using the rocket equation. the majority of the spacecraft's mass may be reaction mass. and is the effective exhaust velocity ve. If we have a payload of mass P. but the reaction mass must be carried along with the rocket and irretrievably consumed when used. fuel tanks. A rocket with a high exhaust velocity can achieve the same impulse with less reaction mass. most high-efficiency engine designs also provide very low thrust. A way of measuring the amount of impulse that can be obtained from a fixed amount of reaction mass is the specific impulse. [edit] Calculations Burning the entire usable propellant of a spacecraft through the engines in a straight line would produce a net velocity change to the vehicle. the effects of gravitational attraction and any atmospheric drag must be overcome by using fuel. and the rocket engine has exhaust velocity ve. designers often focus on the reaction mass. but even assuming 100% efficiency. When discussing the efficiency of a propulsion system. so that more efficient engines (in the sense of having a large specific impulse) require more energy to run. the spacecraft needs to change its velocity by Δv. and Isp is the specific impulse of the rocket. Beyond this. and little reaction mass is needed. This is the impulse per unit mass in newton seconds per kilogram (N·s/kg). ends up as kinetic energy of the exhaust.used to accelerate ions out the back. certainly not all energy supplied ends up in the vehicle . where M is the mass of fuel. Since a rocket must carry all its reaction mass with it. then the mass M of reaction mass which is needed can be calculated using the rocket equation and the formula for Isp For Δv much smaller than ve. the engine will need energy amounting to This formula reflects the fact that even with 100% engine efficiency.this number is termed 'delta-v'. However. a large amount of impulse per second. and so on). that is. this equation is roughly linear. the growth is exponential. most of the first reaction mass goes towards accelerating reaction mass rather than payload.

000 300. The orbit is not a Hohmann transfer orbit. Instead. Suppose we want to send a 10. which is clearly impractical.000 kg of payload and structural weight.200 620 100 Energy required (GJ) 95 103 775 4. they would have to be supplied with 2. its mass is almost negligible (relative to the mass of the payload and the engine itself) for some of the engines. then in the case of a large ve the possible acceleration is inversely proportional to it.. Interestingly. For the sake of argument. or about five minutes. a much smaller. These mission delta-vs are typically numerically integrated on a computer. The launched mass is often lower. If the vehicle performance is limited by available power. for it to be possible for one of the high-efficiency engines to generate a gravity of thrust. and landings. if solar power is used. This lower power is only sufficient to accelerate a tiny amount of fuel per second. Drives such as VASIMR. the total acceleration takes about 300 s. less powerful generator may be included which will take much longer to generate the total energy needed. So.000 kg space probe to Mars.000 Fuel mass (kg) 190. At one gravity. However. and to a lesser extent other Ion thrusters have exhaust velocities that can be enormously higher than this ideal.equivalent to a major metropolitan generating station. For example.3-10 km/s delta-v. which often results in lower cost. but over long periods the velocity will be finally achieved.000 Specific impulse (s) 100 500 5. e. planetary arrivals. This comes to an exhaust velocity of about 2/3 of the delta-v (see also the energy computed from the rocket equation). and thus end up powersource limited and give very low thrust.For example a launch mission to low Earth orbit requires about 9. The required Δv from LEO is approximately 3000 m/s.000 8.500 Observe that the more fuel-efficient engines can use far less fuel. there is a fixed Isp that minimises the overall energy used by the rocket. Thus the latter should not be too large.5 or 15 GW of power . [edit] Propulsion methods Propulsion methods can be classified based on their means of accelerating the reaction mass. This would need to be included in the 10. There are also some special methods for launches. (A manned probe would need to take a faster route and use more fuel).000 30. hence the time to reach a required delta-v is proportional to ve.g. while with a chemical rocket it takes a few days. for a mission delta-v. using a Hohmann transfer orbit. note also that these require a large total amount of energy. [edit] Rockets A "cold" (un-ignited) rocket engine test at NASA . it took the Smart 1 more than a year to reach the Moon.000 50. let us say that the following thrusters may be used: Engine Solid rocket Bipropellant rocket Ion thruster VASIMR Effective Exhaust Velocity (m/s) 1.000 5.

Of course. various exotic nozzle designs such as the plug nozzle. and other techniques such as curtain cooling or film cooling. converting thermal energy into kinetic energy. and the faster. To improve on this. the machinery to do this is complex.A rocket engine accelerates its reaction mass by heating it. A compromise nozzle is generally used and some percentage reduction in performance occurs. H-1 rocket engine Linear aerospike XRS-2200 engine Rocket engines that could be used in space (all emit gases unless otherwise noted): . However. may also be employed to give essentially unlimited nozzle life. materials technology mostly does not place an upper limit on the exhaust temperature of chemical rockets. producing hot high-pressure gas or plasma. if lower the vehicle will be slowed by the difference in pressure between the top of the engine and the exit. For maximum performance it turns out that the pressure of the gas leaving a rocket nozzle should be the same as ambient pressure. It is this nozzle which gives a rocket engine its characteristic shape. the more heat energy the nozzle is able to extract from the combustion gases. such as graphite. larger nozzles are heavier. ceramics or certain exotic metals. the diameter of the nozzle would need to increase with altitude. which dramatically accelerates the reaction mass. colder and lower pressure the exhaust becomes. some of which have been used in speculative propulsion systems. or very high temperature materials. the expanding nozzle and the aerospike have been proposed. where the propellant is passed through tubes around the combustion chamber or nozzle. Hot fluid is required because it maximises the speed at the throat of the nozzle. so that no solid matter need come in contact with the plasma. but research into nuclear fusion has developed methods. Alternatively. The speed ratio of a rocket nozzle is mostly determined by its area expansion ratio—the ratio of the area of the throat to the area at the exit. Regenerative cooling. Rockets emitting plasma can potentially carry out reactions inside a magnetic bottle and release the plasma via a magnetic nozzle. The larger this is. rockets may employ cooling systems to prevent the nozzle material itself becoming too hot.5 and 4 times. stepped nozzles. which is difficult to arrange. The expansion part of the rocket nozzle then accelerates by a further factor. if higher then this represents pressure that the bell has not turned into thrust. To achieve this ideal. each having some way to adapt to changing ambient air pressure and each allowing the gas to expand further against the nozzle giving extra thrust at higher altitude. The reaction mass's combustion temperature is often far higher than the melting point of the nozzle and combustion chamber materials. Rockets can use ablative materials that erode in a controlled fashion. A significant complication arises when launching a vehicle from the Earth's surface as the ambient atmospheric pressure changes with altitude. typically between 1. The reaction mass is then allowed to escape from the rear of the vehicle by passing through a nozzle. Nevertheless.

Usually the reaction mass is a stream of ions. for these drives.Solid rocket (chemical energy) Hybrid rocket (chemical energy) Monopropellant rocket (chemical energy) Bipropellant rocket (chemical energy) Tripropellant rocket (chemical energy) Dual mode propulsion rocket (chemical energy) Resistojet rocket (electric heating) Arcjet rocket (chemical burning aided by electrical discharge) Pulsed plasma thruster (electric arc heating. engines have been proposed that take advantage of the air in some way (as do jet engines and other air-breathing engines): • ramjets • Air-augmented rocket • Liquid air cycle engine • SABRE • Scramjets [edit] Electromagnetic acceleration of reaction mass • • • • • • • • • • This test engine accelerates ions using electrostatic forces Rather than relying on high temperature and fluid dynamics to accelerate the reaction mass to high speeds. It turns out that to a reasonable approximation. Their very high exhaust velocity means they require huge amounts of energy and provide low thrust. Power generation also often adds significant mass to the spacecraft. emits plasma) Variable specific impulse magnetoplasma rocket (electromagnetic heating. With any current source of power. For some missions. that fuel use. solar energy may be sufficient. The dissipation of . energetic efficiency and thrust are all inversely proportional to exhaust velocity. Such an engine requires electric power to run. but use hardly any fuel. there are a variety of methods that use electrostatic or electromagnetic forces to accelerate the reaction mass directly. emits plasma) • Solar thermal rocket (solar energy) • Nuclear thermal rocket (nuclear fission energy) • Radioisotope rocket/Poodle thruster (radioactive decay energy) • Antimatter catalyzed nuclear pulse propulsion (fission and/or fusion energy) • Gaseous fission reactor (nuclear fission energy) • Fission-fragment rocket (nuclear fission energy) • Fission sail (nuclear fission energy) • Nuclear salt-water rocket (nuclear fission energy) • Nuclear pulse propulsion (exploding fission/fusion bombs) • Fusion rocket (nuclear fusion energy) • Antimatter rocket (annihilation energy) On the other hand. and high exhaust velocities require large amounts of energy. engines drawing their power from a nuclear source are called nuclear electric rockets. but for others nuclear energy will be necessary. the maximum amount of power that can be generated limits the maximum amount of thrust that can be produced to a very small value.

especially space inside the Solar Systems. propulsion structures need to be large. [edit] Launch mechanisms . These cannot be the only system for controlling satellite orientation. But space is not empty. The law of conservation of momentum states that any engine which uses no reaction mass cannot move the center of mass of a spaceship (changing orientation. on the other hand. but recent experiments show no evidence of this hypothesis. is possible). The sail would be half a kilometer wide. [edit] Systems without reaction mass NASA study of a solar sail. a voltage applied across a particular kind of capacitor produces a thrust. there is a magnetic field and a solar wind. Various propulsion methods try to take advantage of this. conservation of angular momentum does not pose a similar constraint. Space drives that need no (or little) reaction mass: • Tether propulsion • Solar sails • Magnetic sails • Mini-magnetospheric plasma propulsion For changing the orientation of a satellite or other space vehicle. Thus many satellites use momentum wheels to control their orientations. since all these things are very diffuse. as frictional losses eventually require the momentum to be "bled off" using a secondary system. Some electromagnetic methods: • Ion thruster o Electrostatic ion thruster o Hall effect thruster o Field Emission Electric Propulsion o Pulsed inductive thruster • Magnetoplasmadynamic thruster • Variable specific impulse magnetoplasma rocket • Mass drivers (for propulsion) The Biefeld-Brown effect is a somewhat exotic electrical effect. There have been claims that this also happens in a vacuum due to some sort of coupling between the electromagnetic field and gravity.waste heat from the powerplant may make any propulsion system requiring a separate power source infeasible for interstellar travel. In air.

or when it is to land. For a solar-powered launch. at the very least the mass of the solar panel would have to be less than 20 grams per kilowatt of power. One advantage that spacecraft have in launch is the availability of infrastructure on the ground to assist them.An artist's conception of an electromagnetic catapult on the Moon High thrust is of vital importance for launch. and even less if the specific impulse is higher or lower than the optimum value. ram accelerator) • Laser propulsion (Lightcraft) [edit] Planetary arrival and landing A test version of the MARS Pathfinder airbag system When a vehicle is to enter orbit around its destination planet. see also gravity drag. also the engine would have to be very light and energy-efficient. [edit] Methods requiring new principles of physics . ruling out other propulsion methods. especially if solar power is used. all current spacecraft use chemical rocket engines (bipropellant or solid-fuel) for launch. which would be in the order of magnitude of 10 km/s. Many of the propulsion methods above do not provide that much thrust. This can be done using all the methods listed above (provided they can generate a high enough thrust). but there are a few methods that can take advantage of planetary atmospheres. coil gun) • Ballistic acceleration (Project HARP. the thrust per unit mass has to be well above g. • aerobraking brings a probe into orbit • parachutes can land a probe on a planet with an atmosphere • airbags can soften the final landing Gravitational slingshots can also be used to carry a probe onward to other destinations. Proposed ground-assisted launch mechanisms include: • Space elevator • Orbital airship • Space fountain • Hypersonic skyhook • Electromagnetic catapult (rail gun. Therefore. Exhaust toxicity or other side effects can also have detrimental effects on the environment the spacecraft is launching from. it must adjust its velocity.

1 .10 minutes Hall effect thruster (HET) 8.000 0.000 .10 months .000 .) Propulsion methods Effective Exhaust Thrust Method Velocity Duration (N) (m/s) Propulsion methods in current use Solid rocket 1.12.80. proportionally more energy is needed.107 minutes Hybrid rocket 1. proven technologies.1 .4. (This result does not apply when the object is significantly influenced by gravity.200 minutes milliseconds Monopropellant rocket 1.500 minutes -2 Resistojet rocket 2. as with solar energy.700 0. Such methods would be essential for any hope at interstellar spaceflight.6. thrust and power consumption and other factors can be.3.100 minutes Momentum wheel (attitude control only) N/A N/A indefinite 7 Bipropellant rocket 1. such methods are currently highly speculative: • Diametric drive • Pitch drive • Bias drive • Disjunction drive • Alcubierre drive (Warp drive) • Differential sail • Wormholes • Time machines [edit] Table of methods and their specific impulse Below is a summary of some of the more popular.000 10 .4.000 . this means that the journey takes a proportionally longer time The second and third are the typical amounts of thrust and the typical burn times of the method. This is not necessarily the most important characteristic of the propulsion method.10 minutes Tripropellant rocket 2. above) • if it is much more than the delta-v.000 . a variety of hypothetical propulsion techniques have been considered that would require entirely new principles of physics to realize.000 .000 . Three numbers are shown.000 . To date. then exorbitant amounts of fuel are necessary (see the section on calculations.4. followed by increasingly speculative methods.50.500 .000 10-3 . if the power is limited. however: • if the delta-v is much more than the exhaust velocity.4. however.000 10-3 . Outside a gravitational potential small amounts of thrust applied over a long period will give the same effect as large amounts of thrust over a short period. The first is the effective exhaust velocity: the equivalent speed that the propellant leaves the vehicle.10 minutes Arcjet rocket 4. then.500 .000 10-2 .000 103 .10 months Electrostatic ion thruster 15.Artist's conception of a warp drive design In addition.

1012 minutes N/A 30.000 .000 .000 .000 7.000/4.000 20.months minutes weeks months seconds-minutes seconds-minutes minutes N/A 200.10-3 weeks 100 weeks 50.000 10-5 .000.1012 several days 40 1.000 .000 20.1.300.000 5.Field Emission Electric Propulsion (FEEP) Magnetoplasmadynamic thruster (MPD) Pulsed plasma thruster (PPT) Pulsed inductive thruster (PIT) Nuclear electric rocket Tether propulsion Currently feasible propulsion methods Solar sails Mass drivers (for propulsion) Orion Project (Near term nuclear pulse propulsion) Variable specific impulse magnetoplasma rocket (VASIMR) Nuclear thermal rocket Solar thermal rocket Radioisotope rocket Air-augmented rocket Liquid air cycle engine SABRE Dual mode propulsion rocket Technologies requiring further research Magnetic sails Mini-magnetospheric plasma propulsion Nuclear pulse propulsion (Orion drive) Gaseous fission reactor Antimatter catalyzed nuclear pulse propulsion Nuclear salt-water rocket Beam-powered propulsion Fission sail Fission-fragment rocket Nuclear photonic rocket Significantly beyond current engineering Fusion rocket Bussard ramjet Antimatter rocket Redshift rocket 100.000 20 months As electric propulsion method used N/A 1 .000 .? 20.100 days .000 .000 .000 .000 103 .000 20.1012 half hour 103 .000-8.107 half hour As propulsion method powered by beam 10.100.000 9.000 .000 7.000 Indefinite Indefinite ~1 N/kW months 109 .000 300.6.130.400.000.20.000 .100.1 years-decades .12.000 10-6 .200 105 1 .000.500 9 per km2 Indefinite (at 1 AU) 104 .000 4.500 30.108 months 109 .000 10.106 days-weeks 100.000 10.