Engines - Miniature maximization . . .


Improving efficiency and performance of tiny engines like those used in remote-controlled planes is the focus of a report that may thrust the technology into this century. These single-cylinder engines, which have potential for unmanned aerial systems and portable power, can be improved by using stronger, more heat-resistant materials and tighter tolerances between the piston wall gap, according to a study led by Mike Kass of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “Miniature engine development hasn’t advanced much beyond the designs that were introduced in the 1950s,” said Kass, who noted that profit margins are too low to support the tools necessary to advance the technology. While typically relegated to the hobby industry, these engines can also help meet power needs for in-flight sensors and future hybrid versions that would offer greater flexibility. The report will appear in SAE International.

 -  Ron Walli,  865.576.0226,  November 05, 2013

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