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Wankel rotary engines

Although operating under the same theory and stroke phases as a four-stroke engine, it does not have pistons (in the traditional sense). Instead, the engine operates with a triangular "piston" inside an oval chamber.

As the “piston” rotates it creates four distinct voids in each corner quadrant of the oval, with one becoming the inlet area, with an inlet valve, the next area become the compression area, the third becoming ignition and the forth becoming exhaust with exhaust valves.

Although trickier to image than the traditional four-stroke system, it can operate as quite an effective engine.

This layout can burn more oil and fuel and wear out parts very quickly compared to traditional layouts. However, its ability to rev much higher and create good power to weight results has made it an exciting sports car option.

Although designed in the 1920s, the Wankel rotary engine has struggled to see common mass production until recent years, as the development of technology has allowed for a more efficient design.

However, over its history the Wankel rotary engine has been developed for various uses by major manufacturers, including a diesel version developed by Rolls Royce and a motorcycle variant by Norton Motorcycles.

Most successfully, Mazda brought the Wankel rotary engine to its most prominent position through successful use in the RX-7 and later RX-8.

Engine History for cars and motorcycles



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