- This is for all Gear-Heads. I have been following the rotary Wankel engine for decades. It never lived up to its expectations. Mazda came out with the memorable RX-7 equipped with their version of the rotary engine.
- Soviet-Born Scientist Stirs Up a Revolution in Engines in the U.S.
by Pavel Kotlyar, http://rbth.com/
Soviet-born scientist, Nikolai Shkolnik, has invented the world’s most powerful and efficient combustion engine, and patented it in the US.
In 1975 Russian physicist Nikolai Shkolnik left the Soviet Union for the U.S. after graduating from the Kiev Polytechnic Institute. For 10 years he worked as a consultant for struggling innovation companies. Throughout these years, he was constantly preoccupied with one question – why are modern car engines so inefficient?
Shkolnik developed his own high-efficiency hybrid cycle (HEHC) engine, which became a key step towards his dream. He was helped by his son Alexander, who eventually graduated from MIT and had become an expert in system optimization.
Blast from the past
The father and son inventors were inspired by the idea of a rotary engine, whose principles were first proposed in the mid-20th century by German inventor, Felix Wankel.
Ordinary piston engines have many rotating and moving parts, which reduces their efficiency. The Wankel engine, however, has an oblong chamber with a triangular rotor inside it, whose movements create different sections in the chamber where fuel is injected, compressed, burnt and released.
Despite their higher efficiency, rotary engines failed to win wide recognition because they were not very reliable and not environmentally-friendly.
Rotary engines reincarnated
The Shkolniks founded the LiquidPiston company and created their own version of a rotary engine where the rotor has the shape of a nut that revolves in a triangular chamber, thus resolving the shortcomings of the Wankel engine. In addition, the Shkolniks’ engine creates a so-called isochoric combustion that is fuel burning with the volume remaining constant, thus improving efficiency.
The inventors created five models of an absolutely new engine, one after another, the latest of which was first tested in June when it was installed on a sports cart. The tests lived up to all expectations.
Compact and powerful
The Shkolniks’ miniature engine weighs under two kilos, has a capacity of just three horsepower, and has an efficiency factor of 20 percent. By way comparison, a typical piston engine of the same displacement of 23 cubic centimeters has an efficiency factor of just 12 percent, while a piston engine of the same weight would generate just one horsepower.