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RadMax Rotary Engine To Be Lightweight And Clean-Burning
Submitted by Berny Herrera on Monday, December 11, 2006 - 1:58pm

Source:C/Net News.Com

John Robertson has spent more than a decade perfecting an engine his boosters claim could mark the death of the piston. He will know soon whether it was time well spent.

Robertson's Reg Technologies is building a lightweight, clean-burning new engine technology capable of running on fuels ranging from diesel to hydrogen.

The engine is an offshoot of the rotary design, which replaces the reciprocating motion of the piston with a single rotor that moves around an oval chamber. The design is significantly smaller and more lightweight than a typical piston engine, giving it more push per pound. And because it has fewer moving parts (13, compared with 40 on a piston) and operates in a smooth motion, advocates claim it causes less strain and vibration and is therefore easier to maintain and repair.

Reg Tech's current design, dubbed RadMax, is the result of $11 million worth of research. The company plans to begin tests on its prototype 125 horsepower engine before year's end and hopes to have it ready for commercial use soon after.

Robertson is targeting military applications such as unmanned aerial vehicles first, confident that his lightweight design will allow craft to carry more fuel and stay aloft longer. The plan is to license the engine to truckmakers and then later perhaps to automakers.

"Change will not happen overnight," Robertson admits.

German engineer Felix Wankel introduced the engine concept in the mid-1950s, but despite drawing rave reviews for its power and simplicity, several drawbacks have relegated it to the fringes. Among automakers, Japan's Mazda has been the engine's principal champion, but today in the U.S., only the manufacturer's RX-8 sports car operates using the design. That car highlights the rotary's weaknesses: Mazda recommends owners check the oil frequently due to the engine's tendency to burn it.

Robertson asserts that his company's design makes major improvements that should solve many problems. If it works as promised, the RadMax would run on nearly any fuel, burn with little to no emissions and provide a new lighter-weight engine alternative for recharging battery cells on hybrid cars. Soon it may have its day in the sun.

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Heres another article and an
December 22, 2006 - 8:14pm
Heres another article and an animation showing how this thing works.
Link to article
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December 19, 2006 - 12:12am
The original story is misleading, in my opinion. The RadMax is not a Wankel, but a vaned rotary—a huge difference, even if some of the geometry is similar. The owners of this company also own the RandCam technology, which has been touted as the replacement for the Wankel but which has in my opinion too many potential issues such as excessive sliding area requiring sealing, etc. Vaned rotary compressor and pump designs have been around for many years, but none has ever been made into a practical engine design that entered production in any numbers to my knowledge.

Like it or not, the Wankel configuration is the simplest trochoidal configuration that gives a true four-stroke cycle, sufficient compression, and the smallest sealing length for the configuration. Other rotaries, including nontrochoidal varieties, have had to piggyback on technologies developed for the Wankel. And a lot of other rotary designers just won't like it. Many of these other designs have frightful problems with sliding and pivoting parts just festering to wear out, servicing problems (such as having to disassemble the engine to change spark plugs, as in Wankel's original DKM design), and so forth.

The NSU-Wankel RE remains the top of the heap after you consider all of the factors given. Simpler is usually better.
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December 11, 2006 - 7:41pm
"Mazda recommends owners check the oil frequently due to the engine's tendency to burn it."

This makes it sound like a design flaw, instead of a feature designed to lubricate the internal seals without having to add 2-cycle oil to the gas: THE OIL INJECTION SYSTEM!
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"Mazda recommends owners check the oil frequently due to the eng
December 19, 2006 - 6:29pm
You do have to wonder though. About all those people who do just jump into their vehicle and drive it.
Yes it is a design feature, and bar adding 2-cycle oil into the fuel, there is no way around needing a metered volume of oil injected into the intake system.
Design flaw for the masses, would be a more accurate interpetation I think.
How many of us older rotary owners actually disconnect our metering pumps and use pre-mix anyway?
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