How A Rotary Works

Not unlike a reciprocating engine, the rotary intakes, compresses, ignites and exhausts but the big difference here is the smooth, continuous rotation.

Piston engines use up a large amount of energy when stopping the piston and accelerating it back the other way at the start and finish of each stroke. A Rotary makes a huge saving for this reason alone. A second Rotor behind, inline with the first and "upside down" smooths out the pulses of energy even more.

No wonder they love to rev so hard.

An animation of mine (left), and one that was sent to me from the web (right).
(pics may take a while to load - 500KB / 104KB)


A Quick Explanation of the Rotary Combustion Cycle

1 . Intake
The fuel mixture is drawn in by the vacuum created as the chamber increases in volume with the clockwise rotation of the rotor.


2 . Compression
The fuel mixture is compressed as the chamber drastically reduces in volume with the further rotation of the rotor.


3 . Ignition
At the ideal time (varies depending on application) the spark plugs energise, igniting the fuel mixture.
The burning mixture rapidly increases in pressure and pushes on the rotor, forcing it to continue its rotation. It is in this phase of the cycle that power is delivered to the central crank or eccentric shaft.


4 . Exhaust
With the continued rotation of the rotor, the spent mixture is then allowed to expand as it is pushed from the chamber into the exhaust system.

The whole time this cycle is in sequence, two more identical cycles are also operating on the other faces of the rotor. In most cases, this is then complimented by a second rotor alongside, operating exactly 180 degrees out of phase (upside down) to the first. This produces a smooth power delivery with the six pulses of energy following behind each other in perfect unison, not unlike the smoothness found in an electric motor.

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