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Crankcase Sub/Supercharging

Start with a two cylinder, 4-stroke engine.
  [vote for,

Move the intake valves from the cylinder heads to the piston crowns. The transplanted valves will rely solely on momentum and pressure differential to operate¹. The crankcase is now the intake manifold². A one-way valve on the crankcase is now the throttle.

Changing the strength of the constrictor [edit: I suppose defining 'constrictor' would help : it's just a flap valve on the crankcase, letting air in] changes the amount of air sucked into the crankcase when both pistons simultaneously head up to TDC, thus changing the amount of air that will be pushed into³ whichever cylinder has its intake valve open when they both head down to BDC.

That's supercharging. Limiting the amount of inducted air to less than one cylinder's worth results in subcharging, useful for creating an Atkinson-type of cycle.

The end result is an engine that can segue from para-Atkinson operation to "supercharged powerhouse" pretty smoothly. It's not magical - the geometric compression ratio is fixed and supercharging ain't free - but the much wider range of aspiration is accomplished with no added complexity (some removed, as a matter of fact).


¹ Vacuum operated intake valves are common enough, but momentum - where the valve wants to keep moving when the piston slows down after the midpoint of travel - not only mitigates valve float (where the valve action can't keep up at high speeds) but may even introduce the opposite problem, where they want to open or shut too early.

² but not a carburetor. Nothing wrong with carburetion, but for the purpose of this post we'll stick with direct injection, inside the cylinder.

³ "pushed" because, unlike any other multicylinder engine, a 4st 2cyl has all the cylinders moving up and down at the same time. Not only is the crankcase a pump because of this, but it's pumping more than 1 cylinder's worth at a time. This is sortof the main point of the post: making use of that.

FlyingToaster, Jan 04 2016

Prior Art Backside_20supercharger
probably. [FlyingToaster, Jan 04 2016]


       Timing the valves could prove to be terribly tricky. And are you shooting gas through the whole crankcase? If so, I wouldn't want to warranty the main bearings for very long.
RayfordSteele, Jan 04 2016

       A study of WW1 aero engines, some of which were total-loss lubricated - both 2- and 4-stroke - should convince you that nothing you have described in innovative.   

       Crankcase-scavenged 4-stroke with inlet valve in piston crown ... ? Baked.   

       Crankcase pressurized by supercharging ? Baked.   

       Direct fuel injection with a pressurized crankcase, and sleeve valves, for diesel or spark ignition ? We refer you to Sir Harry Ricardo.   

       It's not in any sense a bad idea, it just isn't new.
8th of 7, Jan 04 2016

       The timing for the valves isn't *that* tricky. Momentum and differential pressure combine to make sure they do the right thing at the right time.   

       Granted there *could* be a problem with preemptive opening and shutting at very high RPMs (the exact opposite of "valve float" which doesn't happen in this design). However that could be mitigated by lightweight valves and perhaps giving the crankcase valve (ie: the throttle) its own variable cam.   

       //isn't new// Well, the keywords aren't new, but the Idea seems to be, unless you have the "members only" Google.   

       G.Daimler's first engine patent had a piston-crown valve to "help with the intake", but there's no indication from the drawings that super or subcharging (which is the point of this exercise) was involved.   

       [edit: and for some reason I forgot about rotaries, but they still don't do supercharging like this]   

       The idea relies on crankcase volume expansion and contraction, which only a 2cyl 4stroke can provide: add more cylinders and the air keeps moving around but the pressure stays the same.   

       (okay a 1 cyl 4-stroke can do it as well to a certain degree, using an intermediate chamber)
FlyingToaster, Jan 10 2016


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