Development and characterisation of small-scale rotary engines
by S. Bennett Sprague, Sang-Won Park, David C. Walther, Albert P. Pisano, A. Carlos Fernandez-Pello
International Journal of Alternative Propulsion (IJAP), Vol. 1, No. 2/3, 2007

Abstract: This paper describes the development and characterisation of small-scale rotary engines with displacements in the range of 78–1500 mm³ for portable applications in the range of 10–200 W of power output. Small-scale combustion engines present a number of research challenges including manufacturing tolerances, sealing, thermal management, ignition, combustion efficiency and porting. Four engines have been characterised using a custom test bench and show an increase in performance due to design changes that mitigate the challenges associated with small-scale engines. The volumetric power density has been increased from 11 W/cm³ in a 348 mm³ engine operating with a supercharged hydrogen/air mixture to 22 W/cm³ in a 1500 mm³ engine operating with naturally aspirated liquid hydrocarbon fuel. The thermal efficiency has also been increased from 0.2 to 4%. Continued improvements in sealing, thermal management, combustion efficiency and friction reduction will allow further increases in engine performance.

Online publication date: Tue, 03-Apr-2007

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