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Remodeled Mazda Rotary Engine For EVs, Drones Catches US Military Attention For Oil Problems, Engine Reliability

First Posted: Jun 16, 2016 04:10 AM EDT
Drones
Drone literally means continuous low humming sound. It is rotary engine operated. Wikimedia Commons/Nicolas Halftermeyer CC BY 2.0

Electronic vehicles and drones having been using compact machineries similar to go-karts, but a new engine has been unveiled outside the laboratory for the first time.

Alexander Shkolnik, co-founder and president of LiquidPiston, built a rotary designed engine with a pistonless set up that maximizes ratio of power and weight. The Connecticut-based firm has spent $18 million and 13 years in modifying a rotary engine that was built in 1960 by Felix Wankel, Wired reported. On 2012, Mazda gave up on the said engine, but Shkolnik remodelled the rotary engine based on his father's design, a combustion technology by a physicist, Nikolay. Engineers took the conventional engine from the Kart and installed the X mini on Monday. The performance was exactly what they expect.

EV's and drones are the potential products to use LiquidPiston's engine. The 1.5 kilogram battery medium-duty and propeller-powered drone caught the United States military's interest, Spectrum reported. The company has received $1million fund from the Defence Advanced Military Research and Projects to address certain oil problems and engine reliability. The engine, after undergoing half a dozen modifications has resulted in an all-metal rotary engine that is far different from the conventional engine, the famous operational engine of the Mazda RX series.

Instead of a triangle inside a peanut model, the chamber itself is triangular with a peanut-shaped rotor that seals gas from moving from one chamber into another. It makes the engine easier to lubricate wihout burning oil as combustion occurs, a feature called over-expansion.

EV's and drones have an urgent need for compact engines. LiquidPiston has a continuously expanding range of engine models with different functions. The engine demonstration on Monday proved that the company has a manufacturing capability. However, the company has a long way to go. Production and practical application in a drone will take years.

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