Most of us fly aircraft powered by piston engines
, a basic technology dating back to the late 19th century.
The two-stroke free piston engine
and generator of West Virginia University could operate smoothly in 24.
The new engine would weigh a fraction of piston engines
in the 100 horsepower class and have 10 times the life span, according to the Air Force.
The free piston engine
offers a number of advantages over a traditional reciprocating engine coupled to a rotary generator: firstly, the powertrain from piston to generator is dramatically simplified.
2011, "Modeling and control of a hydraulic free piston engine
with HCCI combustion," Proc.
With only three main moving parts, compared to a minimum of 40 in a piston engine
, power delivery is very smooth and refined.
A conventional six-cylinder, 260-hp lightplane piston engine
costs about $35,000, and the smallest of the ubiquitous PT6 general-aviation turbines are $125,000 and up.
ARCO CEO Mike Bowlin late last month became the first chief executive in either the oil or auto industries to state that fuel cell power will obsolete the gasoline-fueled piston engine
Cars with an internal combustion piston engine
with compression ignition (diesel or semi-diesel) and a cylinder capacity of more than 2500 cm3, designed to carry more than 80, but not more than 120 passengers, buses for urban transport of a large class
M2 EQUITYBITES-September 8, 2017-Absolute World Speed Record for Piston Engine
Propeller Driven Airplane Set
The reality of trying to burn Jet A--essentially a high-quality kerosene--in a spark-ignition piston engine
was detailed in a March 1988 NASA technical paper:
Free piston engine
compressors operate by separating a combustion chamber from a compressor head with a "free-piston" which moves in response to the pressure forces on either side.