Engineers hope to stave off the death of the internal combustion engine by perfecting the opposed piston design.
It’s commonly understood that the internal combustion engine has to die. Nations have considered banning fuel-burning vehicles beyond a certain future date, though none of these proposals has stuck around. But with increasing pressure on automakers to build more efficient vehicles that put out fewer emissions, the future of the piston engine looks grim.
But now, a team of engineers is investigating a way to make a cleaner, greener internal combustion engine. And their solution involves flipping the standard four-stroke engine on top of itself.
As Wired explains, the opposed piston engine layout has long been on the minds of vehicle engineers. It replaces the four-stroke engine’s valvetrain with open intake and exhaust ports, eliminating the friction and complexity of a camshaft and valves. But for decades, we didn’t have the means to control air and fuel metering precisely enough to take advantage of the design’s inherent efficiencies.
Now, engineers think they’ve finally perfected the opposed piston design. Their hope is that the engine can harness the century-plus refinement of the piston engine, along with the opposed layout’s advantages, to make a clean-running new vehicle that uses the fueling infrastructure we’ve already got in place.
Check out how this innovative new engine works. Who knows—someday, this type of engine might be under the hood of your own car.
Originally posted by Bob Sorokanich on Popular Mechanics (December 1, 2016) (View Original Article)