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6-stroke engine!

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by dontoe, Apr 18, 2006.

  1. dontoe

    dontoe 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    [​IMG]
    March 18th, 2006 at 10:01 pm

    Under the hood of almost all modern automobiles there sits a four-stroke internal combustion engine (ICE). Though the efficiency of the design has been improved upon significantly in the intervening years, the basic concept is the same today as that used by the first practical four-stroke engine built in the 1870s. During every cycle in a typical car engine, each piston moves up and down twice in the chamber, resulting in four total strokes… one of which is the power stroke that provides the torque to move the vehicle. But the automotive industry may soon be revolutionized by a new six-stroke design which adds a second power stroke, resulting in a much more efficient and less polluting alternative.

    In a traditional ICE cycle, 1) the fuel/air valves open as the piston moves down, which draws air and fuel into the chamber; 2) the valves close as the piston moves back up, putting the air/fuel mixture under pressure; 3) the mixture is then ignited, causing a small explosion which forces the piston back down, which turns the crank and provides the torque; and finally 4) the exhaust valves open as the piston moves back up once again, pushing the byproducts of the fuel explosion out of the chamber. This leaves the piston back in its starting position, ready for another cycle. This process is repeated thousands of times per minute.
    The clever new six-stroke design was developed by 75-year-old mechanic and tinkerer Bruce Crower, a veteran of the racing industry and a the owner of a company which produces high-performance cams and other engine parts. He had long been trying to devise a way to harness the waste heat energy of combustion engines, and one day in 2004 he awoke with an idea which he immediately set to work designing and machining. He modified a single-cylinder engine on his workbench to use the new design, and after fabricating the parts and assembling the powerplant, he poured in some gas and yanked the starter rope. His prototype worked.
    His addition to the ICE design is simple in principle, yet a stroke of genius. After the exhaust cycles out of the chamber, rather than squirting more fuel and air into the chamber, his design injects ordinary water. Inside the extremely hot chamber, the water immediately turns to steam– expanding to 1600 times its volume– which forces the piston down for a second power stroke. Another exhaust cycle pushes the steam out of the chamber, and then the six-stroke cycle begins again.
    Besides providing power, this water injection cycle cools the engine from within, making an engine's heavy radiator, coolant, and fans obsolete. Despite its lack of a conventional liquid cooling system, his bench engine is only warm to the touch while it is running.
    From the Autoweek article:
    Crower invites us to imagine a car or truck (he speaks of a Bonneville streamliner, too) free of a radiator and its associated air ducting, fan, plumbing, coolant weight, etc.
    “Especially an 18-wheeler, they’ve got that massive radiator that weighs 800, 1000 pounds. Not necessary,” he asserts. “In those big trucks, they look at payload as their bread and butter. If you get 1000 lb. or more off the truck…”
    Offsetting that, of course, would be the need to carry large quantities of water, and water is heavier than gasoline or diesel oil. Preliminary estimates suggest a Crower cycle engine will use roughly as many gallons of water as fuel.
    And Crower feels the water should be distilled, to prevent deposits inside the system, so a supply infrastructure will have to be created. (He uses rainwater in his testing.) Keeping the water from freezing will be another challenge.

    Bruce Crower holds a patent on the new design– which he is still developing and tweaking– but he estimates that eventually his six-stroke engine could improve a typical engine’s fuel consumption by as much as forty percent.




    More:

    Inside Bruce Crower’s Six-Stroke Engine [​IMG]
    By PETE LYONS
    [​IMG]
    AutoWeek | Published 02/23/06, 9:35 am et

    Bruce Crower has lived, breathed and built hot engines his whole life. Now he’s working on a cool one—one that harnesses normally-wasted heat energy by creating steam inside the combustion chamber, and using it to boost the engine’s power output and also to control its temperature.

    “I’ve been trying to think how to capture radiator losses for over 30 years,” explains the veteran camshaft grinder and race engine builder. “One morning about 18 months ago I woke up, like from a dream, and I knew immediately that I had the answer.”

    Hurrying to his comprehensively-equipped home workshop in the rural hills outside San Diego, he began drawing and machining parts, and installing them in a highly modified, single-cylinder industrial powerplant, a 12-hp diesel he converted to use gasoline. He bolted that to a test frame, poured equal amounts of fuel and water into twin tanks, and pulled the starter-rope.

    “My first reaction was, ‘Gulp! It runs!’” the 75-year-old inventor remembers. “And then this ‘snow’ started falling on me. I thought, ‘What hath God wrought…’”

    The “snow” was flakes of white paint blasted from the ceiling by the powerful pulses of exhaust gas and steam emitted from the open exhaust stack, which pointed straight up.

    Over the following year Crower undertook a methodical development program, in particular trying out numerous variations in camshaft profiles and timing as he narrowed the operating parameters of his patented six-stroke cycle.

    Recently he’s been trying variations of the double-lobe exhaust cams to delay and even eliminate the opening of the exhaust valve after the first power stroke, to “recompress” the combustion gasses and thus increase the force of the steam-stroke.

    The engine has yet to operate against a load on a dyno, but his testing to date encourages Crower to expect that once he gets hard numbers, the engine will show normal levels of power on substantially less fuel, and without overheating.

    “It’ll run for an hour and you can literally put your hand on it. It’s warm, yeah, but it’s not scorching hot. Any conventional engine running without a water jacket or fins, you couldn’t do that.”

    Indeed, the test unit has no external cooling system—no water jacket, no water pump, no radiator; nothing. It does retain fins because it came with them, but Crower indicates the engine would be more efficient if he took the trouble to grind them off. He has discarded the original cooling fan.

    So far he has used only gasoline, but Bruce believes a diesel-fueled test engine he is now constructing—with a hand-made billet head incorporating the one-third-speed camshaft—will realize the true potential of his concept.
    Potential…and Questions
    Crower invites us to imagine a car or truck (he speaks of a Bonneville streamliner, too) free of a radiator and its associated air ducting, fan, plumbing, coolant weight, etc.

    “Especially an 18-wheeler, they’ve got that massive radiator that weighs 800, 1000 pounds. Not necessary,” he asserts. “In those big trucks, they look at payload as their bread and butter. If you get 1000 lb. or more off the truck…”

    Offsetting that, of course, would be the need to carry large quantities of water, and water is heavier than gasoline or diesel oil. Preliminary estimates suggest a Crower cycle engine will use roughly as many gallons of water as fuel.

    And Crower feels the water should be distilled, to prevent deposits inside the system, so a supply infrastructure will have to be created. (He uses rainwater in his testing.) Keeping the water from freezing will be another challenge.

    But the inventor sees overriding benefits. “Can you imagine how much fuel goes into radiator losses every day in America? A good spark-ignition engine is about 24 percent efficient; ie., about 24 cents of your gasoline dollar ends up in power. The rest goes out in heat loss through the exhaust or radiator, and in driving the water pump and the fan and other friction losses.

    “A good diesel is about 30 percent efficient, a good turbo diesel about 33 percent. But you still have radiators and heavy components, and fan losses are extremely high on a big diesel truck.”

    Bottom-line, Bruce estimates his new operating cycle could improve a typical engine’s fuel consumption by 40 percent. He also anticipates that exhaust emissions may be greatly reduced. It’s all thanks to the steam.

    “A lot of people don’t know that water expands 1600 times when it goes from liquid into steam. Sixteen hundred! This is why steam power is so good. But it’s dangerous…”

    The danger of a boiler explosion has long been a factor in engineering—and in operating—steam powerplants of all kinds, and Crower is properly wary of the miniature boiler he has conjured up inside his test engine. That’s one reason he chose to use one originally manufactured as a diesel, for its inherent strength, though he installed a carburetor and ignition system so it could burn gasoline at first.

    The original diesel fuel injector system now supplies the water spray to generate the steam-stroke.

    In addition to producing extra power, the injected water cools the piston and exhaust valve, which suggests to Crower that he could raise the compression ratio. “I’ve done this many times on regular engines: 15-to-1 on gasoline for the first five seconds works pretty good until you get some chamber heat and then suddenly it gets into pinging. But with the chamber being chilled, I bet 12-, 13-to-1 will be no problem on cheap fuel.

    “So what we can maybe do is have fuels that aren’t quite as good…It’ll save a nickel a gallon not having to keep three grades going.”

    As for his hope of lowering emissions, Bruce speculates the steam might purge “cling-on hydrocarbons” out of the combustion chamber. “This thing may turn out to be so clean that you won’t have to have a catalytic converter.

    But he admits that’s unknown, saying “there’s a lot of experimenting still to be done.” Which prospect makes him smile. He thrives on this kind of challenge.
    Bruce’s Background
    “You’ve kinda got to be in the cam business and know the dynamics of engines,” Bruce Crower says about how the idea occurred to him. And he certainly has that background.

    He was building and racing hot rods (and hot bikes), manufacturing speed equipment and operating his own speed shop in his home town of Phoenix when he was still a teen.

    After moving to San Diego in the 1950s, among other exploits he dropped a Hemi into a Hudson and drove it to a 157-mph speed record at Bonneville.

    Inevitably, the inventive and inexhaustible Crower built up a major equipment business in superchargers, intake manifolds, clutches and, especially, camshafts. He’s also credited with first suggesting a rear wing to Don Garlits—in 1963, three years before Jim Hall’s winged Chaparral. Bruce Crower is now in Florida’s Drag Racing Hall of Fame.

    Crower actually had introduced a wing two years earlier, during practice on Jim Rathmann's 1961 Indianapolis car—five years before Jim Hall’s winged Chaparral. Bruce had been crewing at the Speedway since 1954 (Jimmy Bryan, second place), and had been part of Rathmann's 1960 victory effort. He was likewise on the winning teams in 1966 (Graham Hill) and 1967 (AJ Foyt). Three decades later, in 1998, Eddie Cheever won with Crower cams.

    Bruce even produced his own complete Indy engine, a flat-8 that didn’t quite make the field in 1977 and then was rendered obsolete (due to its width) by the advent of ground-effect tunnels. But the Crower 8 and its automatic clutch did win an SAE award for innovation.

    Today, Crower Cams and Equipment Company employs about 160 people in five facilities, and manufactures not only cams but crankshafts and connecting rods—including titanium rods for (unnamed) Formula One customers.

    Bruce Crower can’t be called retired now, but he’s happy to let the company he founded “roll along” while he “plays with cars.” That’s how he looks at the intensive R&D work he carries out in the privacy of his 13-acre horse property near the rural community of Jamul.

    One of several projects is building up Honda S2000 engines for the Midget raced by his granddaughter, Ashley Swanson. (“I think she’s on par with Danica Patrick,” says the proud grampa.)

    But his prime focus is proving his six-stroke engine is as revolutionary as he believes it is. “I’ve been trying to find something wrong with the whole basic idea for almost a year,” he says, “but I think we’re going to have a very marketable item.”

    Then he adds philosophically, “If it turns out to be great, fine. If it doesn’t, it’s just another year out of my life that I’ve had a lot of fun doing something.”
     
  2. Jagged

    Jagged 1 ton status

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    Genius
     
  3. Inu-Hanyou1776

    Inu-Hanyou1776 1/2 ton status

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    *nods* I like this, it sounds like it'd really work. It's very useful in how it'd make the bulky cooling system of the radiator and coolant obsolete. I wonder how much power it'd add to a normal engine?
     
  4. Jagged

    Jagged 1 ton status

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    Take a 4 cylinder engine... you'd have two cylinders on a power stroke at the same time... talk about power to weight ratio :o
     
  5. Inu-Hanyou1776

    Inu-Hanyou1776 1/2 ton status

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    Yep. Actually, now that I think about it, in a real car the weight savings of eliminating the radiator and it's assorted equipment with this would be offset by probably having to carry a water tank the same size as the gas tank, if as much water is used as gas. The fuel savings and power increase however would probably all be worth it. I'd maybe worry about rust a little though, if the engine is shut off with water mist still in the cylinder.
     
  6. Jagged

    Jagged 1 ton status

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    You ever see the inside of an engine that uses water injection? Water injection is commonly used in forced induction applications in a 50/50 mix with methanol. You could eat off the cylinders.
     
  7. 84k5

    84k5 1/2 ton status

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    I would think you'd use a condensor of sorts so you could re-use the same water. Need to drive a pump for the water as well. Cool idea.
     
  8. Stickseler

    Stickseler 3/4 ton status

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    That kewl
     
  9. Inu-Hanyou1776

    Inu-Hanyou1776 1/2 ton status

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    I did a little bit of looking around. The guy used a converted single cylinder air-cooled diesel to build the test engine. The original diesel fuel injection system is used to inject the water with his design.
     
  10. surpip

    surpip 1 ton status

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    that kicks ass, well see how far it goes though
     
  11. Corey 78K5

    Corey 78K5 1 ton status

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    Yeah the auto industry will kill it off like most other good ideals.
     
  12. blazinzuk

    blazinzuk Buzzbox voodoo Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Yah right like the 100mpg carb The friction free engine all that crap about the fuel saving device thats like two mason jars attached to the pcv valve or some crap like that. Whatever
     
  13. steve_kibbe

    steve_kibbe 1/2 ton status

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    Wow, what a mind...
     
  14. 89GMCSuburban

    89GMCSuburban 1/2 ton status

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    800 to 1,000 lbs, eh? Funny...I can lift a radiator (aluminum) out of a semi myself...and the coolant in it weighs about 80 lbs. Radiator plus coolant is realisitcally more like 150 to 200 lbs..

    Nonetheless!!!! Very cool idea! I'd like to see how the mileage would work out since you have to carry fuel and water.
     
  15. neverendingproject

    neverendingproject 1/2 ton status

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    By george I think he's done it!!!!!!
     
  16. dontoe

    dontoe 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Maybe he's talking about the whole nose? If ya don't need a radiator, then you could eliminate the grill area, and be more streamlined in the process. Might save more fuel from the streamlining than the weight loss.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2006
  17. wasted wages

    wasted wages 3/4 ton status

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    Very interesting,,,

    I do have to question one thing,,after the 6th stroke (we'll call this the steam exhaust stroke) There will be some residual steam left in the combustion chamber ( as we know no engine is 100% volumetrically effecient) --This steam will re-expand as the piston moves downward in the bore untill a vacuum is produce to draw in the next charge of air and fuel.

    This re-expansion will "dillute" the incoming fuel/air charge and therefore there is less bang for the buck on the next power stroke. I would think this would severly reduce the HP produced compared to the same size CI of a conventional engine.

    This HP loss "may" be made up by the steam stroke,,
    and then there's the cylinder corrosion and parts wear to deal with. Water vapor left in contact with cylinder walls would surely cause rusting when left off for long periods of time. methanol may help but over time I would think wear and oil issues would creep up over time. Just my .02
     
  18. MattK

    MattK 1/2 ton status

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    yeah thats very true. id still guess its worth some lab runs.
     
  19. y5mgisi

    y5mgisi 1 ton status

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    So whos gonna make the convertion for an SBC??!??!
     
  20. Inu-Hanyou1776

    Inu-Hanyou1776 1/2 ton status

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    Well, since he used a converted diesel, this sounds like the best GM conversion would be to take an Olds 5.7 diesel (if running ones can still be found) or a 6.2/6.5 and work from there. The biggest problem would be adding a distributor to the disel setup, since the diesel injection pump and injectors will now be sqirting the water in on the second power stroke. From this point of view, it sounds like the Olds 350 diesel would be the best bet.
     

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