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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-13-2007, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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6-stroke engine

The Six Stroke Engine

Could be a amazing break thru in gasoline powered engines.



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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.



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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-13-2007, 02:01 PM
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That's really cool... When I first started reading this post I was thinking something along the lines of creating another power stroke with the engine heat... Something along the lines of a diesel/gasoline hybrid... I don't know enough about either to have anything useful to theorize, but that's what immediately popped into my head...
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-13-2007, 02:13 PM
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Follow-up Article... Good read too.

Inside Bruce Crower’s Six-Stroke Engine

By PETE LYONS

AutoWeek | Updated: 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.”
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-13-2007, 02:33 PM
 
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I want to see one. This will be extremely cool if they can pull it off. But aren't there water shortages already? He said it will have to be distilled water so sal****er is a no no. What I am trying to say is wouldn't this just pose another problem?

How come when i type salt water together it erases the middle but now I get it. Thats funny automatic editing!

Last edited by jnn7404; 05-13-2007 at 02:36 PM. Reason: Didn't know why auto edit but figures it out
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-13-2007, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by jnn7404 View Post
I want to see one. This will be extremely cool if they can pull it off. But aren't there water shortages already? He said it will have to be distilled water so sal****er is a no no. What I am trying to say is wouldn't this just pose another problem?
Yes and no... The cool thing about it is the fact that the water isn't really consumed... I could see some sort of collector system being devised that would allow the steam to recondense and be cycled back through as water. Heck, most cars have AC, which acts as a dehumidifier... That water could be collected and used as well (obviously only in the summer in some areas)... Perhaps cars would have some sort of collection mechanism for rain water... The possibilities are nearly endless...
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-13-2007, 07:45 PM
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-13-2007, 11:05 PM
 
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Interesting.



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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-13-2007, 11:28 PM
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Future is the wankle.
Wankel is inefficient..



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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-13-2007, 11:47 PM
 
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this is interesting, might be a major breakthrough in engine tech.
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-14-2007, 06:56 AM Thread Starter
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I just wonder if the powers in the car world and or petro world will fight such things...




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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-14-2007, 08:45 AM
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Isn't there a problem with temperature shock? He's putting liquid water into a hot cylinder- how does the head not crack? Difference with a normal water-cooled engine is that normally, the water stays liquid and keeps moving. How reliable is this going to be? Will it last hundreds of thousands of miles? I would think that shocking any metal that hard would cause it to disintegrate over time. Or at least become extremely brittle- dangerously so.
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-14-2007, 10:07 AM
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Isn't there a problem with temperature shock? He's putting liquid water into a hot cylinder- how does the head not crack? Difference with a normal water-cooled engine is that normally, the water stays liquid and keeps moving. How reliable is this going to be? Will it last hundreds of thousands of miles? I would think that shocking any metal that hard would cause it to disintegrate over time. Or at least become extremely brittle- dangerously so.
Good call... One could theorize that the shock would not be as severe as dumping a bucket of water on a hot engine simply because the engine never gets that hot...
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-15-2007, 06:42 AM
 
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I just wonder if the powers in the car world and or petro world will fight such things...
Hell yeah they'd protest. How would they steal from the public anymore?



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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-15-2007, 07:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Phenix_Rider View Post
Isn't there a problem with temperature shock? He's putting liquid water into a hot cylinder- how does the head not crack? Difference with a normal water-cooled engine is that normally, the water stays liquid and keeps moving. How reliable is this going to be? Will it last hundreds of thousands of miles? I would think that shocking any metal that hard would cause it to disintegrate over time. Or at least become extremely brittle- dangerously so.
I agree. Also, here are some other problems I thought of:
*Corrosion from the steam generation.
*Blow by gases. Is steam blow by worse than hydrocarbon blow by?
*Weight savings. Are there really weight savings? Typical fuel tank is 12 gallons. Assume you now have a 6 gallon gas tank, and a 6 gallon water tank. The typical radiator holds a little over one gallon. Didn't you just add weight? OBTW, water is heavier than gasoline.
*As stated before, long term durability.

Not trying to be a negative nellie, but most times, if something sounds too good to be true, it really is.
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post #16 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-15-2007, 08:14 AM
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Good call... One could theorize that the shock would not be as severe as dumping a bucket of water on a hot engine simply because the engine never gets that hot...
It may be that the water is supposed to vaporize when it hits the hot exhaust gasses?
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I agree. Also, here are some other problems I thought of:
*Corrosion from the steam generation.
*Blow by gases. Is steam blow by worse than hydrocarbon blow by?
*Weight savings. Are there really weight savings? Typical fuel tank is 12 gallons. Assume you now have a 6 gallon gas tank, and a 6 gallon water tank. The typical radiator holds a little over one gallon. Didn't you just add weight? OBTW, water is heavier than gasoline.
*As stated before, long term durability.

Not trying to be a negative nellie, but most times, if something sounds too good to be true, it really is.


On the corrosion count though, they did say about using distilled water. I don't know whether that would halt corrosion, or just stop the buildup of deposits from minerals dissolved in the water..
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post #17 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-15-2007, 08:27 AM
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Nice try, don't see it becoming more than that though.

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post #18 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-15-2007, 08:59 AM
 
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6 stroke? it takes 6 engine cycles to produce one power stroke? egads...
more cycles = less power. 2-strokes will always produce the most HP with smaller engine displacement. the problem is emissions. oil is needed within the combustion chamber for lubrication. which results in higher emissions.

the future is in hydrogen combustion. no polution but requires more hydrogen to produce the same HP as petrol. it also runs hotter.

but combine hydrogen combustion with 2 stroke. it runs hotter so exhaust gases will finish oxidation (no need for cat converter). drawback is materials that can withstand that high heat and keeping the cost down.

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Originally Posted by Back _Marker View Post
6 stroke? it takes 6 engine cycles to produce one power stroke? egads...
more cycles = less power. 2-strokes will always produce the most HP with smaller engine displacement. the problem is emissions. oil is needed within the combustion chamber for lubrication. which results in higher emissions.

the future is in hydrogen combustion. no polution but requires more hydrogen to produce the same HP as petrol. it also runs hotter.

but combine hydrogen combustion with 2 stroke. it runs hotter so exhaust gases will finish oxidation (no need for cat converter). drawback is materials that can withstand that high heat and keeping the cost down.

-a|ex
No, there would be 2 power strokes in 6 strokes in this engine as opposed to 2 power strokes in 8 strokes with the current.

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post #20 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-15-2007, 06:11 PM
 
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Future is the wankle.
I disagree. The future is the Quasiturbine.

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/quasiturbine.htm
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