rotary engine


rotary engine
1. an engine, as a turbine, in which the impelling fluid produces torque directly rather than by acting upon reciprocating parts.
2. a revolving radial engine.
[1810-20]

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Internal-combustion engine in which the combustion chambers and cylinders rotate with the driven shaft around a fixed control shaft to which pistons are attached.

The gas pressures of combustion are used to rotate the shaft. In the Wankel engine, the most fully developed and widely used rotary engine, a triangular rotor rotates with an orbital motion in a specially shaped casing, and forms rotating crescent-shaped combustion chambers between its sides and the curved wall of the casing.

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      internal-combustion engine in which the combustion chambers and cylinders rotate with the driven shaft around a fixed control shaft to which pistons (piston and cylinder) are affixed; the gas pressures of combustion are used to rotate the shaft. Some of these engines have pistons that slide in toroidal (doughnut-shaped) cylinders; others have single- and multiple-lobed rotors. Early rotary engines were used in World War I aircraft. They were air-cooled, with cylinders arranged circularly around a crankshaft fastened rigidly to the fuselage. The propeller was attached directly to the circular frame on which the rotating cylinders were mounted. Various inefficiencies in these engines led to their abandonment after the war.

      After World War II the development of a new kind of rotary engine reawakened interest. The Wankel is the most fully developed and widely used of the rotary engines. In the Wankel engine the rotor, in the form of an equilateral triangle, rotates with an orbital motion in a specially shaped casing and forms rotating crescent-shaped combustion chambers between its sides and the curved wall of the casing. The three apexes of the rotor are provided with spring-loaded sealing plates that maintain a continuous sliding contact with the concave inner surface of the casing, and the combustion chambers increase and decrease successively in size as the rotor turns. The fuel charge from a carburetor enters the chamber through an intake port, is compressed as the size of the chamber is reduced by the rotation of the rotor, and at the appropriate time is ignited by a spark plug.

      The Wankel engine was first tested for use in automobiles in 1956. It has since come to be used for such industrial applications as driving air compressors, where small, light-weight, high-speed engines with mechanical simplicity are needed. See also gasoline engine.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • rotary engine — n. 1. an engine in which rotary motion is produced directly, without reciprocating parts, as a steam turbine or Wankel engine 2. an early type of radial engine with the cylinders rotating around a stationary crankshaft …   English World dictionary

  • Rotary engine — The rotary engine was an early type of internal combustion aircraft engine in which the crankshaft remains stationary and the entire cylinder block revolves around it. The design was used mostly in the years shortly before and during World War I… …   Wikipedia

  • rotary engine — An internal combustion engine which is not of a reciprocating (piston) engine design. There is no true crankshaft, although the power take off shaft is sometimes called the crankshaft. It is stationary or fixed in that it simply spins in place.… …   Dictionary of automotive terms

  • rotary engine — noun 1. an internal combustion engine in which power is transmitted directly to rotating components • Hypernyms: ↑internal combustion engine, ↑ICE • Hyponyms: ↑turbine, ↑Wankel engine, ↑Wankel rotary engine, ↑epitrochoidal engine …   Useful english dictionary

  • rotary engine — ro′tary en′gine n. 1) mac an engine, as a turbine, in which the impelling fluid produces torque directly rather than by acting upon reciprocating parts 2) mac aum an internal combustion engine, as the Wankel engine, whose power is developed by a… …   From formal English to slang

  • rotary engine — noun 1》 an aircraft engine with a fixed crankshaft around which cylinders and propeller rotate. 2》 a Wankel engine …   English new terms dictionary

  • rotary engine — noun Date: 1837 1. any of various engines (as a turbine) in which power is applied to vanes or similar parts constrained to move in a circular path 2. a radial engine in which the cylinders revolve about a stationary crankshaft …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • rotary engine — noun any of several types of internal combustion engine in which the power output is directly rotational …   Wiktionary

  • rotary engine — n. internal combustion engine in which rotation is conveyed straight to rotating parts …   English contemporary dictionary


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