Since the 1800s engines have been the fascination of many inventors. There has been a desire to constantly understand and improve upon what is already in existence to make it go faster, have more power, and get us places quicker. As the decades have gone by and technology has improved there has been improvements in motors, and this decade is no exception. There are engines that are being made that have options and abilities beyond what could have thought of.
Two Strokes Are Better Than Four
The concept of the two stroke engine is not something new. It has just been thoughtof as too dirty and not efficient enough to invest time into creating one for the mainstream automobile market. Then Peter Hofbauer came along and had an epiphany that if you changed the cylinder head of a boxer engine with a moving piston and cylinder ports it may be a very conceivable idea. As a result of that idea, the engine motor was created using half of the parts of a four stroke engine which meant 15-50% increased energy efficiency and much few emissions than a standard two stroke motor.
It’s All About the Small Stuff
One of the key differences in this new two stroke engine was the use of a few smaller , but key parts within the engine motor itself. One was the turbocharger, or small electric motor mounted to the blower’s shaft. Other parts were the steel connecting rods, crank shaft, and the cylinder that lets the gases flow in and out of the cylinder via ports in the walls, “saving the complexity and weight of cylinder heads.” Changes in smaller parts to the engine like the use of the standard size o-ring, the overhead camshaft, and the variable valve timing systems have helped to not only improve the engine motors, but also their effects on the environment.
Giving Hybrids a Run for Their MPG
Over the last 15 years or so there has been an increased trend in hybrid and electric cars for people who want something that can help save them money at the pump, while simultaneously saving the environment. But now Delphi is challenging the idea that gasoline cars can’t have the same benefits by combining both gas engine design as well as diesel. With gas engines using a spark for ignition and diesels relying on the heat of compressed air, the concept is to create a gasoline-powered engine that uses compression ignition, known as ‘gasoline-direct-injection compression ignition’.
Although it may seem impossible Delphi has already developed a single-piston test engine and is working on multicylinder engine that could be used for production. The estimated advancement from this engine motor if it's possible would be a 50% improvement in the fuel economy of gasoline power engines.
The reality is we have just begun our pioneering into what can happen with engine improvements and advancements. With the use of on board computers, and ever evolving tools and ideas, there is no telling what we will see in the years to come with aeronautics, cars, and small engine design.