Model Boat Mayhem

Mess Deck: General Section => Chit-Chat => Topic started by: RipSlider on January 23, 2008, 10:59:35 am

Title: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: RipSlider on January 23, 2008, 10:59:35 am
hello folks.

I saw this:

and it does seem to be very clever indeed. It's a different way of laying out the pistons and con rods in an IC engine which, according to the inventor, is vastly more efficient.

My first thought was "That's very clever" then my second thought was "If it actually worked, then it would have been done years ago" but I still can't see any issues with it.

Am I missing something, or is this the shape of engines to come?

Sorry if this is wrong topic, couldn't see a better place to put it.

Title: Re: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: Martin [Admin] on January 23, 2008, 11:14:25 am

It says:
"If one were to take the various components of engine friction: crankshaft, connecting rods, camshaft, piston rings, piston skirts, and the engine accessories and determine how much each would be affected by changing to the Brickley design, then one can see how much of an improvement is possible."

... but the 'The Brickley Engine' still has all of those issues and as far as I can see a few extra points of friction too..... but what do I know!
Title: Re: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: bigfella on January 23, 2008, 11:51:06 am
Thats all well and good that it may reduce friction. However the fact remains that it is still a version of the internal combustion engine that uses fossil fuels. Now if it used Water (H2O) which could be split into its two elements and used in an internal combustion engine that would result in water as the only by product that you could again use over and over.

Regards David
Title: Re: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: w3bby on January 23, 2008, 11:53:13 am
Recently had this discussion on another forum but I didn't see that engine there.
Here are a few more to look at: ( ( ( ( (
Everyone looking for the better mousetrap!!!!!!
Title: Re: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: FullLeatherJacket on January 23, 2008, 11:54:57 am
Sorry if I sound cynical but I reckon that if this actually did what it claims then it would already have been snapped up by either the oil or motor industries and quietly buried. As for licensing the patent, I'd recommend either the chocolate teapot or sky-hooks as sounder investment prospects.
FLJ (Aspirant Dragon.........)
Title: Re: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: chingdevil on January 23, 2008, 11:58:44 am
At first glance I can not see how this engine is more efficient, it has more moving parts than a conventional engine which would lead to more friction and then more wear. It also looks a lot more complicated, which would lead to higher costs in manufacture. The theory looks good but until one is made and proved, I have my doubts.

But what would I know I am only an engineer.

Title: Re: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: malcolmfrary on January 23, 2008, 12:13:16 pm
The devil is always in the detail - in this case eliminating the wear and tear on all the extra pivots that the system introduces.  Powering this extra lubrication would probably eat into any fuel efficiencies, both real and imagined.  And it still uses fossil fuel.
Those huge oscillating masses dont speak of a high speed motor, so, if ever produced, it might be one of those novelty diesels, either static or in a ship, where it would have a lot of competition from conventional engines.
But then again, what would I know - I did my engineering with a soldering iron and a pair of pointy pliers.
Title: Re: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: sheerline on January 23, 2008, 12:55:59 pm
Although this design has given the pistons a straight parallel movement and thus eliminated side loads found in convention con rod designs, it would appear to come at a price.. multiple pivot points. Now although the design allows for only one connecting rod for four cylinders and the pivots are relatively small in comparison to conventional big ends, the apparent saving on frictional loads may very well be outweighed by higher maintenance levels. There have been many clever designs over the years which apparently deliver the goods equally as well and in some cases better than the conventional designs but just couldn't take the workload. Engines have always been a magnet for me and I have studied a few designs over the years but despite some fascinating and exciting developments, there just isn't anything as cost effective and reliable as the conventional engine we all use at the moment. The gas turbine is probably the best fossil fuel burning power source at this time but has it's limitations for domestic use.
Who knows, with all the new materials we keep inventing, some of these odd designs may yet suface as a workable alternative.
It's all very well designing a more efficient power plant but what is the point if the end user wants to drive around in a high mass vehicle with the aerodynamics of a house brick. I remember in the 80s, the vehicle manufacturers were making a big play of drag co-effieciency figures as a selling point for their cars, no-one seems to consider aerodynamic drag anymore. Why don't they also reduce the mass of vehicles as this would considerably reduce consumption during acceleration.
Design a new engine by all means but for pity's sake find something sensible to bolt it to otherwise there's not much to be gained. Personally, I believe electric vehicles will be the transport of the future and nuclear power stations will provide the power source... whether we like it or not!
Title: Re: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: Colin Bishop on January 23, 2008, 01:22:38 pm
Why don't they also reduce the mass of vehicles as this would considerably reduce consumption during acceleration.

New vehicles weigh more than their predecessors because they are loaded up with safety and environmental gear - airbags, catalysts etc. Ironic isn't it?
Title: Re: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: djrobbo on January 23, 2008, 01:44:43 pm
Hi a mechanic for a lot of years and an m.o.t tester i didn't find any advantages with this engine . As has already been said it has gained heaps of friction points with all those pivots and i think it would not rev highly. also it is only redesigning the bottom end , top end technology stays the same.
      The only thing i can see it has done away with is the piston skirt and then added loads more friction points.
               As has been said i'd like to see one built and running to see what bebefit it has , if any , and what the maintinance costs and hangups are like.

Title: Re: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: sheerline on January 23, 2008, 01:54:05 pm
Yes Colin thats true. Another thought, perhaps a better way to make use of the oil, insead of burning it, would be to produce a low mass high strength aerodynamic bodyshell. The oil is bound up in the production of the body and can be re-used over and over again in a re-cycling process. An engine speed governor fitted to all vehicles would ensure wastefull over-revving did not occur. These two factors alone would account for massive fuel savings but of course fuel costs would escalate out of all proportion to todays prices since the government would still want its annual revenue.
There are probably hundreds of ways you could make more efficient vehicles and they would probably benefit from some of these oddball engine designs as the engine's workload would be drastically reduced but it wouldn't sell cars in the same quantities. I am afraid we won't see any direction or help being offered by government in this respect because it won't earn them their pound of flesh, it is in their interest to keep us burning high quantities of fuel whilst at the same time scaring us all to death about the environment and boosting taxes on the back of it.
Sorry if I'm wandering of the engine thread a bit here but it kind of goes hand in hand with design features and their relevance to us.
Title: Re: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: Bunkerbarge on January 23, 2008, 04:39:07 pm
As has been stated the design does away with the side thrust on the skirts and replaces it with multiple pivots and moving masses, both to be taken away from the potential savings.  Those moving masses will sap energy and what has not been studied is the fact that all four units now act through a single crank so the arrangement there will have to be significantly beefed up and the whole thing will behave like an old single cylinder motorcycle engine.

The point being missed though is that marine two stroke engines have used a cross head arrangement for this very purpose since the beginnings of time with no such extra losses.  The crosshead takes up the side thrust and removes it from the piston and the little end bearing is moved to the crosshead so you don't actually have any more pivots than normal.
Title: Re: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: toesupwa on January 23, 2008, 04:45:21 pm
Bring back the Wankel...

Thats what i say...  :D
Title: Re: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: Pointy on January 23, 2008, 05:47:07 pm
Bring back the Wankel...

Thats what i say...  :D

You mean like this? (

You'd better like visiting Petrol Stations as this thing even as a 1.3 is soooooo thirsty!!
Title: Re: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: malcolmfrary on January 23, 2008, 05:59:52 pm
A nominal 1.3 Wankel (can you really say that?) is really a free-revving, but hideously inefficient 3.9 (or 2.6, depending on who you believe)
The pistons in the "new" layout do not run truly parallel to the cylinders - looking at the animation in the link, the pistons pivot on the end of an arm that is describing an arc.  A crosshead does a much better job. 
Title: Re: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: cos918 on January 23, 2008, 09:18:30 pm
reading the guy idea i have one question on his alleged fuel efficiency  Figures. WHAT other engine is he comparing it to. Take a new 2 litre TDI ford it will give great fuel Figures compaired to say a 20 year old 2 litre ford diesel. So we can all make great claims so long as we engineer our test subjects.
AS for unit cost to build and service an engine like this i hate to thing. The only other engine that i know of with horizontal is the subrea engines and they are very thirsty.
Title: Re: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: tobyker on January 23, 2008, 10:37:35 pm
At last! the problems of the Wooley flying banana solved!
Title: Re: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: Tom Eccles on January 23, 2008, 11:16:46 pm
Looking at this design from the point of view of a planning engineer and the efficiency claims from the point of view of a devout sceptic as far as I can see the only thing this design is good for is raising the odd eyebrow.

What stands out for me are the potential stresses placed on the central pivot pin (why?), the many extra manufacturing processes, the friction losses and the potential imbalance of all that reciprocating mass hanging out to dry.

In my humble opinion; compared to the conventional i/c engine there is a very Strong case for saying "if it ain't bust don't fix it"

Title: Re: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: FullLeatherJacket on January 23, 2008, 11:47:57 pm
Come on, chaps - this is all bullsh1t. The guy has no qualifications - unless the term "independent inventor" impresses you. He admits that the figures which he so glibly quotes are just "projections" and his only justification for claiming that there has been positive feedback from the engineers who have seen his figures is that there hasn't been any negative feedback! They were probably too busy wetting themselves laughing to reply.

The key phrase is "licence the patent". He's hoping that some gullible soul will come along and throw squillions of dollars at him in the hope of flogging his crummy idea to Ford or General Motors. So what's the problem with doing it yourself, Mikey? Won't they talk to you? I wonder why.

Like I said, if there was a grain of sense in the idea then it would have been snapped up already....... but this is from Texas in the good ole USA. Why do the words "money", "more", "sense" and "than" spring to mind?

Now - where did I put those drawings for epitrochoidal wheels and Teflon brake pads?

Title: Re: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: RipSlider on January 24, 2008, 10:57:40 am

Interesting reading so far. I thought there would be some divergent thoughts on it in this with the number of engineers we have running about around here!!

Personally I still can't work out if this is a good idea or not. I'm NOT, unlike a lot of you guys, an engineer, so I can't comment on that side, but I did have some other thoughts:

1) I agree it probably won't have a high top end in a traditional engine usage. However, with fiddling, those strokes could be made very short indeed, which may make it useful for a racing engine or an engine where there is a need for a constant high RPM

2) I think it could be "componentised" ( is this a real word? ) easily. Adding an extra "layer" of this engine to a power train would, I think, be a lot easier than going down a "W engine" configuation or trying to take a design for a 4 cylinder and scaling it up to an 8 cylinder

3) It would seem that it is quite space efficient, so may have use in area's where space is at a premium, especially if you compare 2 "layers" of this engine to, for example, a flat 8. On the other hand, I would expect that this lay out is very difficult to cool easily with that big void in the middle-- will need a lot more oil than a traditional engine.

The reason I posted this is becuase it reminded me of my Grandad who spent 3 years of his life trying to get Wankel engines to work at the ford R+D shop. At the time ( late 50's I think ) the Wankel was considered an utterly stupid idea that would never actually see the light of day.

However, 40+ years later, it's the fastest growing engine type in light aeroplanes, it's won WRC's and the army has just started an 82 million programme to look at whether Wankels can be used for future engine requirements, such as in Motorbikes, small lorrys etc.

There was a comment that said "a 1.3 liter wankel is very thirsty". This is true, but only if you look at it as a 1.3 liter engine. A wankel is a 3-stroke, not a 4 stroke, so you get an additional 33% power for that 1 liter of fuel. It's comparing apples to oranges.

Anywho, please don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to convince anyone to buy this chaos patent, I'm british, and so I have a geneticly built in requirement to support the underdog in any conversation... :-\

Title: Re: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: sheerline on January 24, 2008, 11:44:55 am
It's easy to rubbish new ideas, it's happened to millions of designs over the years and it will go on happening. Many good designs have been thrown up by non qualified engineers in the same way that many rubbish designs have been incorporated in equipment which finds its way onto the market.. and those have been designed by qualified engineers!
Even to the average non qualified bloke, this engine layout looks like a non starter for a lot of the resons set out in these posts. It appears no one has built and tested this design so it's all academic anyway, however there have been multifarious (is that a word?) quirky designs in a similar vane over the years and none have come to the fore because although many may be perfectly workable, they are not cost effective... and thats the bottom line. 
The modern conventional reciprocating four stroke is going to be a hard act to follow since the incorporation of new materials and good design based on years of experience gives it superb reliability and unbelievable longevity... 250,000 miles for an engine is becoming more commonplace today. I can remember back in the 60s, the old B series 1500 BMC engine was good for around 50,000 miles and then it needed new rings, a de-coke and valve springs to to give it a new lease of life.... and the fuel economy and pollution factors were rubbish.
Despite the vast improvement in engine design, someone will always try to' re-invent the wheel' and there's nothing wrong with that.... thats how the Wankel engine came about isn't it?
Title: Re: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: farrow on January 28, 2008, 10:11:48 pm
How about steam, an interesting article was in the current Focus Mag. Apparently they hope to break the early land speed record for a steam car of 139 mph by achieving at least 200mph, also there is a serious project at the moment to build a steam powered freight railway engine plus space travel, apparently they are developing new types of burners/boilers to a jet engine type propulsion type unit. Very interesting read, but we will see if it succeeds.
Title: Re: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: sheerline on January 29, 2008, 12:17:55 am
Steam probably has it's place in the future somewhere and indeed is currently used in nuclear power stations and others to run the turbines. You still have to turn the water into steam though and that requires lots of heat and in a steam plant there are enormous losses between the heat source and the output shaft of the engine it feeds. No steam plant built as yet appears to have anything approaching the efficiency figures obtained from the internal combustion engine since the latter uses its heat directly to provide propulsive power whereas the steam plant uses it in an indirect fashion via some kind of boiler/heat echanger. This usually means a lot of ancilliary equipment applied to the plant to manage the steam resulting in considerable losses. My romantic notions of steam locomotives as we knew them ever making a comeback are just that....shame...I love em!
Title: Re: more efficient engine layout?
Post by: Bunkerbarge on January 29, 2008, 09:14:05 am
I think we actually need this constant supply of innovative ideas in the hope that ever now and then something comes up which may have potential.  Unfortunately of course most of them have never been developed into metal so the real challenges with thier designs have not been realised.

Even such a superb idea theoretically as the Wankel engine has never really been developed into a commercially sucessfull proposition and remains an interesting yet expensive and exclusive alternative that has never been able to compete with the old four stroke even though, on paper, it should be able to do so.  Until we come up with a means of sealing the edges of the rotor the engine will never be a commercial success for one of the main reasons mentioned above, namely you need to change the seals, requiring removing the engine, every few thousand hours.

One area I find particularly interesting is cross pollination of ideas from one area of engineering to another.  One of the most interesting marine engines I ever sailed on was a three cylinder, opposed piston, two stroke, uniflow scavenged Doxford.  The engine is perfectly balanced, extreemly compact and has an excellent power to weight ratio.  I often thought what a perfect engine configuration it would make for a motorcycle!!