- Apr 24, 2006
The "Massive Yet Tiny" engine promises big power in a small package
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]