• Apr 24, 2006

An outfit called Angel Labs has come up with the Massive Yet Tiny (MYT) engine, an innovative internal-combustion configuration that it claims "will spawn the next industrial revolution." Um, okay... so exactly what is it that inspires such hyperbole? Keep reading, as we'll try to find out.

 

To start, let's examine the operating principle. The MYT uses a single toroidal cylinder/combustion chamber, in which rides a total of eight "pistons," arranged in two pairs of four each. Located at the periphery is a set of two intake and exhaust ports (each located 180 degrees from each other), with two spark devices also located 180 apart ,and clocked 90 degrees relative to the ports. The two pairs of pistons use indexed motion to provide the typical four strokes of combustion. Confused? Just check out the animation.

The system packs a large amount of displacement and combustion cycles into a small package, which means that the engine looks to be capable of producing incredible power for its size - hence the name. The engine produces that power by providing large amounts of torque at a very low speed, which has the potential to significantly reduce drivetrain complexity.

There appear to be some significant issues that could stand between it and mass production, however. First, forming the toroidal "cylinder" doesn't look to be a trivial task, as the toroid must be split in two to allow for engine. Getting the two halves to form a perfect circular cross-section would seem to be quite a feat. There's also the issue of producing the indexed motion of the two piston pairs, which is certainly not a straightforward affair. Combine this with the claimed output torque of over 800 ft-lbs., and we see a potential durability problem.

The size of the engine also yields its own problem, in that there does not appear to be sufficient material to support the type of output that the inventors claim. There are good reasons that every other engine appears monstrous in comparison to the MYT, and we don't think it's because current engine designers lack an understanding of material characteristics. It's not just important to understand the ultimate strength of the material and construction something to withstand a single cycle, but fatigue must also be accounted for in any design that's expected to withstand literally billions of cycles. While there are several high-strength materials that may be able to provide adequate strength, they are typically not used in internal-combustion applications. Then there's the matter of lubrication and cooling, both of which seem problematic given the "cylinder" configuration.

None of this commentary is intended to disparage the work that Raphial Morgado and his team have put into this engine, of course. We here at Autoblog prefer to take an optimistic view of the internal combustion engine's future. Certainly, we'll all benefit if indeed Morgado can make his invention work in a cost-effective manner that allows it to be brought to market.

[Source: Angel Labs]



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  • 18 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Andy- You *may* be mistaken. IIRC, WWI (not WWII) engines were radial. The cylinders were around the prop shaft, but they stroked in the radial direction (outward).

      WWII were more conventional, ie, the 12 cylinder Merlin in the P51. -Chad
      • 8 Years Ago
      At the turn of the century when IC engines were first becomming popular, they (for lack of a better word) sucked. Sure, now that they have been around for 100 years, and very smart people have spent their lives and company's have spent billions of dollars to make them as good as they are today. Now, with fuel scarcity, they are becomming almost obsolete, so there needs to be a replacement. Just because these new style IC engines are not as good as the typicle style, does not mean they are not a superior technology.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #7....you're joking, right? Or are you that dumb. I think you're talking about WWI. Those are piston engines with the cylinders in a circle instead of a line (most WWII planes used V engines). And with that last comment, anyone who knows anything about IC engines or automobiles already knows that. Hench why starting a car is called cranking, because you had to start cars with one back in the day.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Gotta love the music for the animation...

      In communist Russia, Massive But Tiny would be called Massive But Titanic!
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think I read Massive YET Tiny (MYT) engine on their website.
      • 8 Years Ago
      A new type of automobile engine? Who cares! If you poke around the Angel Labs website, you'll see that they're also planning to introduce (and I quote) "the Angel's Flight Pack (personal flying backpack, and a new personal transportation)."

      Man, I've been waiting for one those things since the 1960s. Bring it on, baby!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Pump and dump scheme. Happens every 4 or 5 years.
      • 8 Years Ago
      During WW1 rotary engines were used. Their crankshaft was fixed to the airplane structure, it's the engine block that turns.
      One problem is the giroscopic effect produced by the turn of the engine block.
      See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotary_engine

      • 8 Years Ago
      Aircraft engines: there were radials, and there were also "rotaries": not like Wankels, but like radials where the crankshaft was bolted to the airframe and the cylinders rotated around, attached to the prop. Advantages:
      1)all the air cooling you would ever need
      2)no need for a flywheel, save a lot of weight
      For a while, these were the biggest and most powerful engines.
      Disadvantage:
      1) gyroscopic effects like you wouldn't believe.
      So they died out after WWI. Radials stayed alive, though. Corsair had 2,000 HP.

      Trivia: if you look at/play with/think about it, you'll see that in these rotaries, what's really happening is that the pistons and the cylinders are rotating in perfect circles, but with the centers separated by the stroke. Therefore no shake, just perfect circular flywheel motion.
      • 8 Years Ago
      regardless of how viable this engine is, i doubt it will ever make it to the mass market just cuz the automotive world is waaaay too entrenched in its development of the traditional IC engine which virtually every manufacturer has been making, developing, researching, and refining ever since their individual inceptions, and for many companies, that's over 100 years. the rotary engine is a tragic example of one such victim of economics: even tho mazda was able to develop a fantastic motor in the renesis engine all on themselves, wenkel motors are fated to never get anywhere. i truly believe that if the wenkel rotor has received half the time and money that went into developing the otto-cycle engine, they'd be as reliable, cheap, and just overall economical as otto engines are. hence... even if this MYT engine proves to be theoretically a better platform on which to build consumer vehicles... it's got over a century and probably a trillion dollars' worth of R&D to get caught up on.

      my $0.02...
      • 8 Years Ago
      Sounds like the same sort of high-tech machining and metallurgy you'd expect in F1.

      How you bring that down to an assembly-line built, $25,000 sedan is the practical question. Oh yes, and it needs to last long than 90 minutes.
      • 8 Years Ago
      saw this at the la auto show this year
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