How engines work.
March 11, 2002 5:52 AM   Subscribe

How engines work. This isn't new but it's a great resource for the mechanically minded and the mechanically challanged as well. It includes animations and step by step descriptions of how most existing engines work, from Steam Locomotive to Jet Propulsion. Simple yet informative.
posted by talos (18 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Nice link. My son was asking me how engines work, this should help. Thanks!
posted by groundhog at 6:29 AM on March 11, 2002

Where's the link that tells us how the Segway engine works?
posted by dash_slot- at 6:39 AM on March 11, 2002

This will be very useful. Thanks, talos.

(Meta: by the way, this is an example of a thread that probably won't get a ton of comments and so by some metrics won't be a "good" thread. But I think it's excellent.)
posted by rodii at 7:00 AM on March 11, 2002

This is a nice complement to the engines.
posted by magullo at 7:04 AM on March 11, 2002

doesn't the segway engine use a stirling engine?
posted by kliuless at 7:21 AM on March 11, 2002

Wankel rotary engine.
posted by pracowity at 7:23 AM on March 11, 2002

doesn't the rx7 engine use a wankel rotary engine?
posted by kliuless at 7:33 AM on March 11, 2002

I thought that the Segway was electric, and thus didn't use any of the engines described on the (very, very, very cool) linked website.

Thanks talos!
posted by thewittyname at 7:35 AM on March 11, 2002

However, I remember reading that Dean Kamen has put a lot of money into perfecting the Wankel engine by trying to reduce its ineffeciencies.

I think he was experimenting with new compounds to use as seals inside the engine, since leakage between the three "sections" of the Wankel's engine was such a big problem.
posted by thewittyname at 7:39 AM on March 11, 2002

good point thewittyname!

i was just thinking it'd be cool to have a hybrid combustion-electric segway where you'd have a combustion engine running at constant (optimal RPM) feeding a battery that would power an electric motor that could operate variably. like i think that'd be pretty efficient. dunno how'd it work tho. need a how electric motors work :)
posted by kliuless at 7:42 AM on March 11, 2002

doesn't the rx7 engine use a wankel rotary engine?

Yes, Mazda used wankels in the RX-7. as well as in a bunch of their mid-late 70's sedans. Imagine a second-rate 70's Corolla, with a rotary engine. Problem was that the engines were so smooth and revved so freely that they usually needed new engines within a year or so. The little beeper that indicated you'd reached the redline should have been set a bit lower, I guess.

There were lots of problems with the seals, which (I hope!) have been resolved, since the do make rotaries for planes.

There was also a German car that had a production wankel, I think it was NSU? They may have been first.

And since we're on the subject of animated engines, I offer
posted by groundhog at 8:05 AM on March 11, 2002

Shoe. Megaphone. Grunties.
posted by pracowity at 8:05 AM on March 11, 2002

HowStuffWorks also has some articles on various engines.
posted by mattpfeff at 9:19 AM on March 11, 2002

I believe Mazda are briging back the rotary engine.
posted by Frasermoo at 9:22 AM on March 11, 2002

Where's the link that tells us how the Segway engine works?

By law, and stemming from the patent and copyright clauses in the Constitution, each patent must include enough specificity so someone "trained in the art" could reproduce the patent. There is a lot more detail that I will not get into here. But the point is that in 20 years this stuff will end up in the public domain and people need to know how to reconstruct the patent. Trade secrets on the other hand last forever if you can keep the secrets, but offer no remedies beyond contract and tort claims.

A good place to start with Segway™ patent information is here .

Great post talos.
posted by anathema at 9:29 AM on March 11, 2002

...and from the PTO . The howstuffworks site also has an explaination of how it works.
posted by anathema at 11:20 AM on March 11, 2002

Great post talos. When I was 4 I had a popup book which showed how a car works, and that 4 stroke engine animation brought back some great memories. Thanks :)
posted by riffola at 3:16 PM on March 11, 2002

beauty - this one is fun, unique, informative and historically useful... quality resources like this constitue the web's best assets
posted by gkr at 10:22 PM on March 11, 2002

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