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Transportation Australia

Australian Team Working On Engines Without Piston Rings 368

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the more-power dept.
JabrTheHut writes "An Australian team is seeking funding for bringing an interesting idea to market: cylinder engines without piston rings. The idea is to use small grooves that create a pressure wave that acts as a seal for the piston, eliminating the piston ring and the associated friction. Engines would then run cooler, could be more energy efficient, and might even burn fuel more efficiently, at least according to the article. Mind you, they haven't even built a working prototype yet. If it works I'd love to fit this into an older car."
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Australian Team Working On Engines Without Piston Rings

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  • by roeguard (1113267) on Monday January 06, 2014 @08:51PM (#45883313)

    Extra fuel efficiency would be nice, but I am most excited about the prospect of the engine itself lasting longer. Less friction = less heat, less wear & tear, etc. A cool, frictionless engine could potentially last for half-million miles before needing replacement. At my paltry 10-20k miles per year, I could potentially never have to buy another car again.

  • Re:It won't work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cold fjord (826450) on Monday January 06, 2014 @08:53PM (#45883333)

    Trust me, I have a PhD in engineering.

    Would you care to expand upon that? Or is this the scenario we are looking at below?

    If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible, he is almost certainly right; but if he says that it is impossible, he is very probably wrong. -- Arthur C. Clarke []

    Or perhaps we simply have a loose troll?

  • by bloodhawk (813939) on Monday January 06, 2014 @09:05PM (#45883419)
    If they haven't even built a working prototype then how can they be seeking funding to bring it to market? surely they are just seeking funding to prototype to see if it is even viable to bring to market?
  • Re:It won't work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cryacin (657549) on Monday January 06, 2014 @09:09PM (#45883457)

    Trust me, I have a PhD in engineering.

    Heh heh. Posting anonymously when resting your authority on the strength of your name rather than the validity of your argument. Have to feed the troll on this one.

  • Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DerekLyons (302214) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [retawriaf]> on Monday January 06, 2014 @09:14PM (#45883481) Homepage

    From TFA:

    Dynex has brought the technology to the proof-of-concept phase, in which virtual modelling of the âoeair-sealingâ principle looks promising enough to get to work on the real thing.

    A 'virtual model' equates to 'proof-of-concept'? Since when?

  • by mcrbids (148650) on Monday January 06, 2014 @09:21PM (#45883535) Journal

    The question really isn't whether or not it could last 30 years, but rather would you *want* it to?

    I drive a 2001 convertible. It's not a bad car, and runs as if it were new. It has all the luxury options: automatically dimming rear view mirror, leather seats, Bose Infinity speakers, 200 HP engine, etc. I've taken excellent care of it, regular oil changes, fix any problems before they escalate, etc. Even so, it's near the end of its being interesting to me. Its styling is looking pretty passe, the electronics are getting to be really dated, (who even has a CD collection any more?) etc.

    Yes, I could (and have) upgraded components. I've replaced the headlight casings because they were turning yellow, etc. and the radio is probably next. Sadly, there's nothing I can do about the 5 disc CD changer, even if I replaced the radio, I'd still have that funny looking husk down in front of the shifter knob.

    Nothing changes the fact that it's getting to be an old car.

  • Re:It won't work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by muphin (842524) on Monday January 06, 2014 @09:45PM (#45883687) Homepage
    How the ringless piston works:
    In place of the rings, each piston has numerous small, angled grooves, semi-circular at their apex. With the small clearances between them, the movement of the piston creates high-speed eddies -- air pressure working like metal rings to cut leakage and loss during the compression and combustion strokes.

    “That means there’s no metal-to metal contact between the pistons or rotors and their mating cylinders or housings. Virtually no friction means the mechanism needs no lubrication and there’s no wear and tear on major components,” said Trigg.

    There’s an important by-product here, too. Putting an “air cushion” around the periphery of the combustion chamber creates a stratified air-fuel charge – an injection profile that enriches the mixture in the centre of the chamber and leans it up towards the periphery.
  • by bob_super (3391281) on Monday January 06, 2014 @09:50PM (#45883721)

    I'm really annoyed at the US car market.
    Take any car that is available in Europe, and the only engine you can get here is the biggest one that's available there. I drove on European highways with a 1.1l Fiesta. It won't win any races, but it goes fast enough, and sips fuel. Same car, US side? 1.6l engine. Still pretty good mileage by US standards, but few people would buy it across the pond with the "big" wasteful engine.
    Diesel? over 60% of the market in multiple Euro countries. Small HDI engines that give you more oomph than a 2.0l gas one, and torque like a small V6, for two drops of fuel per mile. States-side? Gotta buy a VW/Audi at a premium, or trust GM to have finally made a reliable econobox. For starter, the GM solution with a urea tank is probably not really happy today in the northwest (freezes at 12F according to the web).

    So yeah, I'd love a diesel, or a European car, so I can say bye-bye to the fuel pump without lugging batteries and paying a repair premium (and no 10yr resale value). But you can't get them here, because someone decided that Americans NEED MORE POWAAAAR, or something. To drive 65MPH.

  • by BeaverCleaver (673164) on Monday January 06, 2014 @11:29PM (#45884471)

    European fuel typically has a higher octane rating than fuel sold in the USA, therefore they can tune their engines more aggressively, therefore they can get more power out of a smaller displacement engine.

  • by AnotherAnonymousUser (972204) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @02:01AM (#45885139)
    What are the advantages of ceramic engines? This is the first I've heard of them, and it sounds interesting. I'm off to the Wiki, but insight appreciated!

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