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Publication numberUS3326193 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 20, 1967
Filing dateApr 28, 1966
Priority dateApr 28, 1966
Publication numberUS 3326193 A, US 3326193A, US-A-3326193, US3326193 A, US3326193A
InventorsWahlmark Gunnar A
Original AssigneeWahlmark Gunnar A
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Internal combustion engine
US 3326193 A
Images(4)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 20, i967 G. A. WAHLMARK 3,326,393

INTERNAL. COMBUSTI'ON ENGINE Filed April 28, 1966 4 Sheets-Sheet l June 2G, 67

G. A. WAHLMARK INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE 4 Sheets-Sheet Filed April 28, 1966 June 20, 197 G. A.WAHL.MARK 3,325,393

INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE Filed April 28, 1966 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 31m@ Z0, 3967 G. A. WAHLMARK INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE 4 Sheets-Sheet 4.-

Filed April 28, 1966 United States Patent O 3,326,193 INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE Gunnar A. Wahlmark, 211 S. Rockford Ave., Rockford, Ill. 61108 Fired Apr. 2s, 1966, ser. No. 559,702 13 Claims. (Cl. 123 43) This is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 457,288 filed May 20, 1965, now abandoned.

This invention relates to internal combustion engines and, more particularly, to a swash plate type internal combustion engine.

It is an object of the present invention to provide an internal combustion engine which is both highly reliable and eicient in operation.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a relatively low-cost and versatile swash plate ty-pe internal combustion engine.

An additional object of the present invention is to provide a swash plate type internal combustion engine which is constructed so that self-cooling is realized, the possibility of misiiring is eliminated and smooth running performance of the engine can be achieved.

A further object of the present invention is the provision -of a swash plate type internal combustion engine that is characterized by high operational efficiency, minimum energy losses, and can be operated at extremely high speeds (e.g. up to approximately 20,000 r.p.m.).

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description, particularly when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIGURE l is a plan View of a preferred embodiment of a swash plate type internal combustion engine constructed in accordance with the present invention;

FIGURE 2 is a cross-sectional view of the engine taken along the line 2 2 in FIGURE l;

FIGURE 3 is a fragmentary cross-sectional View taken along the line 3 3 in FIGURE l;

FIGURE 4 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view taken alon"r the line 4 4 in FIGURE l;

FIGURE 5 is a cross-sectional View taken along the line 5 5 in FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 6 is a cross-sectional view similar to FIG- URE 5 but taken along the line 6 6 in FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 7 is still another cross-sectional view taken along the line 7 7 in FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 8 is an enlarged fragmentary view depicting a portion of the drive mechanism for the engine in greater detail:

FIGURE 9 is an enlarged fragmentary cross-sectional View taken along the line 9 9 in FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 10 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view taken along the line 10-10 in FIGURE 9;

FIGURE ll is a fragmentary cross-sectional view similar to FIGURE 3, but depicting an alternate embodiment of the invention; and

FIGURE 12 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 12 12 in FIGURE 1l.

In general, the present invention is directed to an improved form of internal combustion engine. Preferably, the engine employs a swash plate arrangement that is conned within a suitable engine housing for rotary -move- Ament relative thereto. The engine housing denes an enclosure and provides the support for a cylinder barrel that is also rotatably mounted within the housing. The cylinder barrel preferably defines a plurality of piston receiving cylinders, one each of which accommodates a piston assembly that is n turn drivingly connected to the swash plate. The swash plate is coupled to a shaft member that is driven in response to the controlled firing of the engine.

In this latter connection, a suitable valving member iS ice mated with the cylinder barrel and linked thereto so that the valving member is `driven at an angular velocity proportionally related to the angular velocity at which the cylinder barrel rotates in response to the firing of the engine during the operation thereof. The valving member is constructed and arranged relative to the cylinder barrel so that any possibility of misring is eliminated. At the same time, a preselected frictional relationship is maintained between the valving member and the head of the cylinder barrel to ensure optimum engine eiiiciency. In a conventional manner, the housing and cylinder barrel are constructed to accommodate suitable ignition means for each cylinder and this ignition 4means is arranged to ensure that each cylinder is fired in a preselected sequence without requiring the use of a distributor.

Referring more specifically to the drawings, FIGURES l and 2 depict an embodiment of a swash plate type internal c-ombustion engine 10 that is Iconstructed in accordance with the present invention. As shown, the engine 10 is housed within an enclosure 11 that preferably serves as the mounting and support means for the engine com-ponents. Quite generally, these components are an engine block or cylinder barrel 12, a tuned plate valve 13 that mates with the cylinder barrel head, a linking structure 14 that drivingly interconnects the plate valve and cylinder barrel, a plurality of piston assemblies 15 and an obliquely disposed and .driven swash plate member 16 that is directly coupled to the piston assemblies 15. The engine block or cylinder barrel 12 is preferably provided with a plurality of cylindrical, open ended members 12a that are joined to and cammed between an upper cylinder head member 12b and a lower, suitably apertured gear member 18 so as to define a plurality of piston receiving cylinders 17 therebetween. In the illustrated embodiment, three such cylinders 17 are provided, and each cylinder is proportioned to receive one of the piston assemblies 15. Preferably, each Iof the piston assemblies employed in the engine of the present invention corresponds both structurally and functionally to those disclosed and claimed in U.S. Patent No. 2,956,845. Moreover, the ball and socket arrangement employed to link or couple the piston assemblies 15 tothe swash plate member 16 at an optimum -operating angle of 45 preferably corresponds to that disclosed and claimed in the co-pending application of the inventor herein, Ser. No. 133,233, which was filed on Aug. 22, 1961.

`Before proceeding with a detailed description of the mounting and support means for the various components which comprise the engine, a general operational description is in order. After operation of the engine 10 has -been initiated by a suitable starting means (not shown but any one of several conventional types), the piston assemblies 15 sequentially impart driving force to the swash plate 16. The rotary motion imparted to the swash plate member 16 is transmitted to the cylinder barrel 12 by means of the apertured bevel or crown gear member 18 that is fixedly secured to (e.g. by suitable fasteners 19) the cylinder head 12b so as to form the lower portion of the engine block or cylinder barrel 12 through which the piston assemblies extend. Consequently, the ring of the engine and the relative movement between the piston assemblies 15 and the cylinders 17 results in rotary motion 'being imparted both to a driven output shaft 20 and the cylinder barrel 12 so that self cooling of the engine is achieved.

The cylinder barrel 12 is in turn drivingly interconnected with the plate valve 13 by means of the linking structure 14. Preferably, this is effected by means of a shaft 21 and through a load balancing means 22 and a lspeed adjusting means 23 which form the major components of the linking structure 14. These later means ensure that the proper frictional relationship is main- 3 tained between the plate valve 13 and the upper surface of the cylinder barrel during engine operation, while at the same time facilitating the proper timing and firing of the engine absent the possibility of misfiring.

Referring now in greater detail to the drawings, the engine housing or enclosure 11 includes a lower casing 31 which houses the swash plate member 16 and accommodates the passage of the driven output shaft 2t) through a suitably sealed and apertured end plate 31a for the casing. In this connection, the casing 31 is formed with a modified cylindrical sidewall that is proportioned to accommodate the oblique mounting of the swash plate member 16 relative to the cylinder block 12.

The end plate 31a, which is secured to the casing by conventional fasteners 32, includes an apertured shaft mounting portion 33 which receives the driven shaft 20. More particularly, this apertured portion of the end plate is formed to receive a bearing member 34, which is maintained in place by a snap ring 34a, and a confined sealing means 35 as well as the shaft 20. A conventional thrust .bearing assembly 36 is mounted about and in contact with an inner surface of reduced dimension that is formed on the end plate 31a. This bearing assembly 36 affords a self-centering supporting surface for the underside of the swash plate 16 and is positioned adjacent the toothed peripheral edge 16b thereof that mates with the bevel or crown gear 18 so as to ensure the balanced and planar rotational advance of the driven swash plate.

In this connection and as shown in FIGURE 2, the swash plate 16 is fixedly secured to the driven shaft 20 and this shaft is in turn mounted within the apertured portion of the end plate 31a as described above so that rotational movement of these joined components is effected in response to engine operation, although longitudinal movement thereof is precluded. The bearing assembly 36 is confined between the inner surface of the end plate and the underside of the swash plate 16 and maintained in this fixed location by the downwardly projecting peripheral edge portion 16a of the swash plate adjacent the gear teeth 16b that are formed thereon so as to mate with the crown gear 18.

It will be appreciated that various of the previously and hereinafter described bearing assemblies, sealing members, and other of the conventional mechanical devices employed in the illustrated embodiment of the engine have been depicted primarily for the purpose of presenting a disclosure of a fully detailed engine structure. However, these units can be replaced by other similar devices without departing from the invention. Moreover, because of the obvious number of equivalent arrangements that might be employed and in view of the well-known structure and function of such incidental elements that are common to conventional engines and the like, detailed descriptions relating thereto and which do not bear on the present invention are not set forth herein.

As generally outlined above, the engine block or cylinder barrel 12 has rotary motion imparted thereto by the driven swash plate 16 through the bevel or crown gear 18. Referring to the mounting of the cylinder barrel which facilitates this rotational advance, the peripheral side portion of the gear 18 has an aperture 18a formed therein that is proportioned to receive and accommodate a conventional snap ring member 41. This snap ring 41 extends around the entire peripheral side wall of the gear 18 and serves as a sup-port for a disc-like, corrugated spring 42. A sealing ring 43 is in turn mounted about the peripheral side wall of the gear 18 so as to be rotatable with the gear (i.e. the cylinder barrel), supported on the spring, and maintained in contact with a sealing disc 44. As shown, the sealing disc 44 is secured to and extends inwardly from the junction of complementary flanged portions of the lower casing 31 and an upper casing 46 which are joined together by fasteners 49 so as to form the housing or enclosure 11.

A conventional O-ring sealing means 47 is provided adjacent the mounting location for the sealing ring 43. A similar O-ring assembly 48 is provided on the underside of the sealing disc 44 at the location whereat this disc is maintained in fixed relation between the mating flanges of the casings 46 and 31. Preferably, the sealing disc 44 is suitably coated to insure the positive, low friction mating of the sealing surfaces. This arrangement also ensures the closure of the lower casing 31, which accommodates a suitable lubricant such as oil, so that the lubricant is precluded from being discharged from the casing during engine operation. In this connection, the arrangement of the seal formed by the members 43 and 44 is such that any leakage that might tend to emanate from the housing at this location must act against the high centrifugal force that is created due to the rotation of the sealing ring 43 with the gear 18.

As shown in FIGURE 2, the swash plate 16 has three suitably spaced sockets 16e` formed therein to securely receive the mounting elements of the piston assemblies 14 as disclosed in the aforecited pending application Ser. No. 133,233, so that the piston assemblies 15 are joined to the swash plate 16 for rotational movement therewith and pass through the apertured portions of the gear and into the cylinders 17 for movement relative thereto. In addition, the central portion of the shaft 20, which is joined to the swash plate 16, is formed with a socket 20a that accommodates a centering and frictional load compensating assembly 50.

The assembly 50 includes a coupling element 50a having a spherical end portion that in fitted in the socket 20a and a hollow shaft portion that is slideably fitted within a cylindrical aperture 18b formed in a central extension from the underside of the gear 18. The assembly also includes a biasing element or spring 50b that is fitted in the cylindrical region dened by the hollow shaft p0rtion of the coupling element 50a and the aperture in the gear wherein this shaft portion is slideably fitted. As hereinafter more fully set forth, the spring 50b coacts with the cylinder block 12 (Le. through the gear 18) and the swash plate 16 (i.e. through the coupling element 50a) to compensate, in conjunction with the load balancing means 22, for frictional loading that tends to be created between the plate valve 13 and the cylinder block 12. In any event, the engine block 12 and swash plate 16 are directly linked by the gear 18, and these members are further coupled by the piston assemblies, which extend through the apertured gear and into the defined cylinders 17, and the assembly 50.

The cylinder block 12, as outlined above, is coupled to the plate valve 13 by means of the linking structure 14 that interconnects these members so that a preselected timed rotational relationship is maintained between the plate valve and the block. Moreover, this mechanical coupling is such that the desired timed relationship which is established between the cylinder block and valve plate is not inhibited by frictional forces created between the valve plate, the stationary casing wall and/ or the upper surface of the rotary cylinder block.

More specifically, the shaft member 21 is secured to and extends upwardly from the central portion of the upper surface of the cylinder head 12b and is joined to an integral pinion and shaft member 51 through the load balancing assembly 22. In a conventional manner,

the upper free end of the integral pinion and shaft member is mounted and confined within a combined thrust and roller bearing assembly 52. The pinion 51a is in turn coupled to one gear S3 of a pair of gears 53 and 54 which form a speed reducing gear cluster that comprises a major portion of speed adjusting means 23. In this latter connection, the gears 53 and S4 are integrally formed witha shaft 56 and the free ends of this shaft are positioned for rotational movement within conventional bearing assemblies 58. The positioning of the gear cluster Within the upper portion of the housing 11 is effected so that any incidental longitudinal movement of these members is minimized.

Referring more specifically to the operation of the load balancing means 22 and the speed adjusting means 23, a bushing member 65 is mounted about the peripheral portion of the shaft 21 and is supported on a flanged portion 21a of the shaft above the location whereas the shaft is secured by means of a pin 66 to the cylinder head 12b. A sleeve 67 is concentrically mounted about the bushing 65 for rotational movement relative thereto. Still another bushing 68 is concentrically mounted about the outer peripheral surface of at least a portion of the sleeve 67 so as to facilitate the free and unrestricted rotation of this sleeve relative to the internal portion of the housing 11 that defines the region which accommodates the load balancing means 22.

As clearly shown in FIGURES 2 and 8, the upper portion of the sleeve 67 has gear teeth formed therein so as to mate with the gear 54. In a somewhat similar manner, the lower portion of this sleeve 67, which exten-ds and projects outwardly from beneath the lower edge of the bushing 65, is provided with suitable teeth so as to form a multiple spline that mates with a central apertured portion of the plate valve 13 that has a complementing grooved periphery. The upper portion of the sleeve 67 serves to define an enclosure for the structure which links the shaft 21 to the integral pinion and shaft member 51 and the major components of the load balancing means 22 that are mounted about the shaft 51b of this member.

In this connection, the portion -of the shaft 51b that extends beneath the pinion 51a is supported and confined within an apertured central portion 2lb of the shaft 21 and a conventional snap ring or retaining ring 21C is provided at this location. An upper bearing race 71 is mounted about the pinion shaft 51b and is pinned or otherwise secured to the pinion 51a. In a generally similar manner, a lower bearing race 72 is mounted about the pinion shaft 51b in spaced relation to the bearing race 71, and this bearing race is pinned or fixedly joined to the upper end of the shaft 21. A plurality of bearings or balls 73 are positioned between adjacent ball receiving faces of the bearing races 71 and 72 so as to extend around the entire periphery of the pinion shaft 51b as shown particularly in FIGURES 8-10. Preferably, the ball accommodating portions of the races 71 and 72 are formed with complementing undulating configurations with the pitch of these undulations preferably being at least approximately This configuration allows the limited camming of one race relative to the other so as to the other so as to provide adjusting compensation for undue frictional load that might be created between the cylinder head 12b and the plate valve 13.

In this connection, the plate valve 13, which is splined to the lower end of the sleeve 67 so as to rotate therewith, is confined between an apertured wear plate 74 that is fixedly joined to the upper surface of the cylinder head 12b and an apertured wear plate 75 that is joined to the underside of the upper casing 46.

The wear plates 74 'and 75 are fixedly joined in a conventional manner to the upper surface of the cylinder head 12b and the underside of the upper casing 46, and these members are formed of materials which facilitate the efficient advance of the plate valve 13 relative thereto. In accordance with the present invention, the wear plate 74, the plate valve 13 and the wear plate 76 are all complementarily apertured so as to ensure the proper firing of the engine 10. That is, a variable but pre-established relationship is maintained between these apertured components throughout an operating cycle so that the intake of fuel to the cylinders, the ignition of the. fuel, the powered advancement of the piston assemblies 15 Within the cylinders, and the discharge of combustion products is sequentially effected to yield the controlled rotation of the swash plate 16 and the driven shaft20 that is connected thereto.

As shown in FIGURE 3, the upper casing 46 of the housing 11 defines a main inlet port 81 'and a corresponding main exhaust port 82. The stationarily positioned wear plate is apertured (i.e. see FIGURE 6) at these locations so that two sets of three radially aligned ports 84 are provided, with one set of three ports being in direct communication with one each of the inlet and exhaust slots 81 and 82. Inasmuch as both the casing 47 and the wear plate 75 are joined to each other and maintained in fixed relation, the slots 84 are always maintained in the same position relative to the inlet and exhaust ports.

The tuned plate vlave 13, Which is in the form of a liat annular member having an edge portion emanating from the central grooved aperture that is joined to the splined sleeve 67, has a plurality of pairs of large, equal area slots -or grooves 13a, 13b and 13 c .formed therein. The leading slot of each pair (i.e. the rotation of the cylinder barrel 12 and the valve plate 13 is in a counterclockwise direction as viewed in FIGURE 7) is the fuel intake slot while the trailing or second slot is the exhaust slot. With further reference toy FIGURE 7, it will be noted that each pair of slots or grooves is radially spaced from each of the other pairs and that the leading edge of each of the slots is angularly spaced from the leading edge of each of the corresponding (i.e. the inlet or exhaust) slots of the immediately adjacent pair. This arrangement positively precludes misfiring in a given cylinder because only one pair of slots is arranged to communicate in timed relation with each cylinder during engine operation.

Finally, and as shown in FIGURE 5, the wear plate 74 is formed with three angularly spaced slots or apertures 87 with one each of these slots communicating with a dual entry and exhaust port 17a of one of the cylinders 17 as provided by the cylinder block 12. The slots 87 for each cylinder are radially spaced to conform with the spacing Aof only one pair of the slots 13a, 13b or 13C so that communication between the housing inlet and exhaust ports and the respective cylinders is only afforded between one pair of valve plate slots.

With reference to FIGURES 4 and 5, the cylinder head 12b is formed with the ports 17a communicating with the cylinders 17 as defined by the members 12a. In addition, the port defining walls of the cylinder head are also formed to receive a conventional spark plug that extends into the port 17a associated with each cylinder 17. As further illustrated, the members 12a, which are disposed at relative to each other, are formed with conventional air cooling fins to accommodate the cooling of the engine as the cylinder barrel is rotated during engine operation.

Before considering a detailed cycle of operation, several additional structural features of the illustrated engine 10 should be considered. In this connection, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the engine of the present invention can be -operated in conjunction with any of several commercially available fuel supplying systems employing a conventional form of throttling means 9G* as shown in FIGURE 3. For example, the engine 10 can be operated when utilizing a conventional form of carburetor or, alternatively, a fuel injection system can be employed. In any event, the upper casing 47 is preferably employed to house and/ or support various components of the fuel system. However, since the various fuel supplying systems that can be employed with the engine are well known and do not form a part of the present invention, a detailed discussion of this apparatus need not be presented.

In addition to providing a housing and/ or a support for various of the components of the fuel supplying system, the casing 47 also preferably serves as the mounting for a conventional ignition means 91 which, in a conventional manner, is connected to the electrical system for the device employing the engine 10 as shown in FIGURES 4 and 5. The ignition means 91 is preferably stationarily mounted in one of the wall segments 46a of the upper casing 46 so that each of the spark plugs associated with the cylinder 17 sequentially engages the ignition means as the cylinder barrel 12 is rotated during engine operation.

As perhaps best seen in FIGURE 2, the engine is constructed so as to facilitate self-lubricating of the engine components during the operation thereof. ln this connection and with reference to the iilustrated embodiment, a passageway 93 is provided by the lower engine casing 31, the driven shaft and the swash plate 16|. This passageway extends from below the liquid level in the lubricating reservoir 31a that is defined by the lower casing 31 to a location above the level of the lubricant Within the reservoir. Because of the presence of this passageway 93, a portion of the lubricant is withdrawn from the reservoir and is centrifugally atomized to effect lubrication of the coacting engine components enclosed by the casing 31. ln addition, a portion of the lubricant is drawn through a second passageway 94 that is defined by a bored portion of the assembly 50, a tubular member 96 that is joined to and confined between the cylinder head 12b and the gear 18, and a communicating passsageway 97 formed in the central portion of the shaft 21 and the pinion shaft 5112. The passageway 94 terminates adjacent the bearing assembly S2 so that the lubricant is emitted at this location. Preferably, another passageway (not shown) communicates between this enclosed region of the upper casing 46 and the fuel inlet port 81 so that any excess lubricant in this region is supplied to the cylinders 17 along with the primary fuel supply during engine operation,

It will be appreciated that the assembly of the components of the engine 10 is effected so that the proper relationship is maintained between the Various coacting parts and particularly between the plate valve 13 and the wear plate 74 that is secured to the cylinder head 12b. Having assembled the various components as described above, the operation of the engine is initiated by any conventional form of starting means, it being understood that a suitable carburetor or fuel injection system is provided for the engine in a conventional manner and that the nece-ssary electrical connections are made to ensure reliable ignition.

Considering the operation of the engine 10, the steady state condition is such that the cylinders are fired in a one-two-three sequence. Considering the operation at one stage and assuming that the piston assembly 15 for the first cylinder is in communication with the inlet port 81, the fuel mixture is supplied to this cylinder during the time that the first cylinder inlet slot 13a of the plate valve 13 is transiently aligned with the port 17a that communicates with the rst cylinder. As the cylinder block 12 and valve plate 13 rotate away from a position in alignment with the inlet port, the relative position of the valve plate and cylinder block is also altered so that the first cylinder is completely enclosed. This rotational movement of the cylinder as dictated by the r-otating swash plate 16 also results in the compression stroke being effected in the first cylinder due to the relative movement between the cylinder block and the piston assembly that is coupled to the obliquely mounted swash plate. As this compression stroke is completed and the cylinder block 12 continues to rotate, the spark plug 85 that communicates with the iirst cylinder engages the ignition means 91 so that the compressed fuel mixture is ignited and the power stroke occurs. Upon conclusion of the power stroke, the timing of the engine is such that the plate Valve 13 is positioned relative to the apertured head of the cylinder block so that the second of the angularly spaced first cylinder slots 13a (i.e., the exhaust slot in the valve plate) and the corresponding slots in the other members provide an exhaust passageway t-o the exhaust port 82. The sequence of operation just described with respect to the first cylinder similarly occurs in the second and third cylinders in the aforestated 1-2-3 sequence, so that the sustained operation of the engine 10 is ensured.

It will be understood that the speed adjusting means 8 23 functions throughout the period that the engine is operating to ensure that the inlet and exhaust slots provided for each cylinder are properly aligned for the necessary time duration both with the cylinders provided by the rotating cylinder block 12 and, at the appropriate times in the cycle, with the inlet and exhaust ports 81 and 82.

More specifically, rotary motion imparted to the cylinder block 12 is coupled through the load balancing assembly 22 and is imparted to the integral pinion and shaft member 51. Speed reduction occurs as rotation is imparted to the gear cluster 53-54 and the proportionately reduced speed is imparted to the valve plate due to the coaction of the gear 54 with the geared portion of the sleeve 67. In the illustrated embodiment of the invention (Le. a 3 cylinder, 4 cycle engine) and particularly with the arrangement of the slots in the valve plate and the physical positioning of the other components, the angular velocity of the plate valve 13 is reduced to one half of that of the cylinder block 12.

inasmuch as it is important to maintain the proper compression to ensure efficient engine operation, the engine of the present invention provides self-compensating means for unbalanced loading that might tend to be created between the Wear plate 74 that is secured to the cylinder head 12b and the plate valve 13. In this connection, the spring or biasing element Sb associated with the assembly 56 functions to maintain a desired frictional relationship (i,e. valve clearance) between the wear plate 74 and the plate valve 13 during starting. After operation o-f the engine is initiated, the head pressure replaces the action of this spring. If during engine operation this frictional relationship becomes altered so that a drag is created between these elements, this loading is sensed by the load balancing means 22. More specifically, the upper and lower races 71 and 72 respond to this loading so as to effect an angular rotation of one race relative to the other race and the balls 73 impart a camming force that transfers this increased head pressure to the bearing assembly 52 and thereby maintains this same frictional relationship. It has been found that the 15 pitch previously described relative to the undulating ball accommodating faces of the races 71 and 72 readily facilitates any such compensating variations in this frictional relationship (i.e. valve clearance) that might be effected during engine operation.

Referring to FIGURES l1 and 12, an alternate embod-iment of the engine 10 is depicted. In this embodiment, wherein the engine components are designated by the same numerals employed to identify corresponding components in the embodiment-s shown in FIGURES 1-10, the basic engine structure and operation are the same except for a modification in the structural configuration and make up of the cylinder head member 12b. In this connection, this alternate embodiment of the invention contemplates a cylinder head member 12b wherein substantial portions of this member are cut away, as best shown in FIGURE 12, so that only four upwardly extending segments 12b of the cylinder head remain. These extending segments of the cylinder head define the slots or apertures 87, which communicate with the cylinders 17, and a housing for the lower end 4of the shaft 21 at the center of the cylinder head.

As shown in F'lGURE 11, the outer three projecting segments 12b of the cylinder head 12b are mated to the wear plate 74 (e.g. by resilient pin members 74a). The wear plate 74 as well as the plate Valve .13, which is preferably fabricated in the form of .a carbon disc, are both characterized by limited flexibility so that there are essentially only three points of contact whereat these members coact with the cylinder head 12b. Because of the limited flexibility of these members, a desired frictional relationship is maintained and better sealing is achieved between these engine components, while at the same time affording more effective cooling of the engine head by both reducing the amount of material in the engine head structure and by affording additional passageways for cooling air to be circulated relative to the engine during operation.

From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that the present invention provides an in-ternal combustion engine that is characterized by highly efiicient and reliable operation. Because of the radial spacing of the slots defined in the plate valve 13, the possibility of misfiring is precluded. Moreover, because the engine block is advanced along with the driven swash plate during engine operation, the engine has a self-cooling characteristic. This functional aspect of the engine 10 yields the additional advantage that the spark plugs are sequentially triggered to effect ignition within the cylinders without employing a distributor. The simplicity and reliability of the engine operation is clearly evident from the fact that lthe ignition point and the inlet and exhaust points are fixed. Moreover, because of the construction of the plate valve and the timed operational relationship between the driven engine block 12 and the plate valve 13 communication with the inlet and exhaust ports only occurs when dictated by this preselected timing pattern so that no cylinder can be fired prematurely or out of sequence. Inasmuch as the equal area slots or grooves 13a-13C yield a large inlet and exhaust volume flow and because there is no conventional acceleration or deceleration of the piston assemblies, extremely high speed (e.g. up to approximately 20,000 rpm.) .and efficient engine operation is achieved.

Although the illustrated embodiment is a 3-cylinder 4-cycle engine employing a number of coacting components including a variety of conventional bearing and sealing devices, it will be appreciated that the present -invention contemplates other forms of engines which may or may not include such incidental mechanical instrumentalities. The various modifications which might be effected by those skilled in the art to adapt the invention for a particular application or to yield a given construction would not, however constitute a departure from the invention, various features of which are set forth in the accompanying claims.

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. An internal combustion engine which comprises a support housing; an engine block mounted in said support housing for rotary movement relative thereto; said engine block defining a plurality of piston receiving cylinders and being formed with a dual intake .and exhaust slot for each Iof said cylinders; a plurality of piston assemblies; a support plate mounted within said housing for rotary movement relative thereto and in oblique relationship to said engine block; a drive shaft secured to said support plate; means securing said pistons to said support plate in preselected spaced relation to each other and for movement relative to said cylinders; means securing said support plate to said engine block so that rotary motion imparted to said plate in response to the powered advance of said pistons relative to said cylinders is transmitted to said engine block; means on said housing for defining an inlet port for fuel supplied to said cylinders and an exhaust port for combustion products discharged from said cylinders; an apertured plate valve mounted within said housing for rotary movement relative thereto; said plate valve having apertures formed therein so as to provide sequential and transient communication between said inlet and exhaust ports of said housing and said cylinder slots; and means interconnecting said plate valve and said engine block so that said plate valve is advanced in timed relation with said engine block so that the intake of fuel to said cylinders, the ignition of said fuel, the powered advancement of said pistons relative to said cylinders and the discharge of combustion products from said cylinders is reliably and sequentially controlled to effect the controlled driven rotation of said support plate and said shaft.

2. An internal combustion engine in accordance with claim 1 wherein said plate valve and engine block interconnecting means maintains said plate valve in contact with said engine block so that a preselected frictional relationship is established and maintained therebetween to ensure reliable and eiiicient engine operation.

3. An internal combustion engine in accordance with claim 1 wherein said plate valve includes a pair of slots for and corresponding to each of said cylinders defined in said engine block and wherein each pair of slots is radially spaced from the other pairs of slots so that communication between the inlet and exhaust ports defined in said housing and each of said cylinders is only available through the pair of slo-ts formed in said valve plate to correspond to that one of said cylinders.

4. An internal combustion engine in `accordance with claim 3 wherein each of said pairs of slots includes an intake slot and an exhaust slot so that the timed and coacting rotational advance of said plate valve and said engine block results in said plate valve inlet slot and said cylinder slot being aligned with said housing intake port only during one phase of engine operation as effected by each cylinder and said plate valve exhaust slot and said cylinder slot being aligned with said housing exhaust port only during another phase of the engine operation as effected by each cylinder.

5. An internal combustion engine which comprises a support housing; an engine block mounted in said support housing for rotary movement relative thereto; said engine block defining a plurality of piston receiving cylinders and being formed with an intake and exhaust slot for each of said cylinders; an ignition device mounted in communication with each of said cylinders; means -secured to said housing for selectively triggering said ignition devices; a plurality of piston assemblies; a piston assembly support plate mounted within said housing for rotary movement relative thereto and in oblique relationship to said engine block and having a drive sha-ft secured thereto; means securing said pistons to said support plate in preselected spaced relation to each other and lfor movement relative to said cylinders; means securing said support plate to said engine block so that rotary motion imparted to said plate in response to the powered advance of said pistons relative to said cylinders is transmitted to said engine block; means on said housing for defining an inlet port for fuel supplied to said cylinders and an exhaust port for combustion products discharged from said cylinders; an apertured plate valve mounted in communication with said engine block and within said housing for rotary movement relative thereto; said plate valve having apertures formed therein so as to provide sequential and transient communication between said inlet and exhaust ports of said housing and said cylinder slots; and means interconnecting said plate valve and said engine block so that said plate valve is advanced in timed relation with said engine block so that the intake of fuel to said cylinders, the ignition of said fuel, the powered advancement of said pistons relative to said cylinders and the discharge of combustion products from said cylinders is reliably and sequentially controlled to effect the controlled driven rotation of said support plate and said shaft.

6. An internal combustion engine which comprises a support housing; an engine block mounted in said support housing for rotary movement relative thereto; said engine block defining a plurality of piston receiving cylinders and having a cylinder head formed with an intake and exhaust slot for each of said cylinders; an ignition device mounted within said cylinder head in communication with each of said cylinders; means secured to said housing for selectively triggering said ignition devices; a plurality of piston assemblies; a swash plate mounted within said housing for rotary movement relative thereto and in oblique relationship to said engine block and having a drive shaft secured thereto; means securing said pistons to said swash plate in preselected spaced relation to each other and for movement relative to said cylinders; means securing said swash plate to saidV engine block so that rotary motion imparted to said plate in response to the powered advance of said pistons relative to said cylinders is transmitted to said engine block; means on said housing for defining an inlet port for fuel suppplied to said cylinders and an exhaust port for combustion products discharged from said cylinders; an apertured plate valve mounted in mating relationship with said cylinder head and within said housing for rotary movement relative thereto; said plate valve having a plurality of -pairs of slots formed therein so as to provide sequential and transient communication between said inlet and exhaust ports of said housing and said cylinder slots; said valve plate slots being formed so that one pair of slots provides transient communication between said housing inlet and exhaust ports and one each of said cylinders at timed intervals during engine operation; and means interconnecting said plate valve and said engine block so that said plate valve is advanced in timed relation with said engine block so that the intake of fuel to said cylinders, the ignition of said fuel, the powered advancement of said pistons relative to said cylinders, and the discharge of combustion products from said cylinders is reliably and sequentially controlled to effect the controlled driven rotation of said sup-port plate and said shaft.

7. An internal combustion engine which comprises a support housing; an engine block mounted in said support housing for rotary movement relative thereto; said engine block defining a plurality of piston receiving cylinders and having a cylinder head formed with an intake and exhaust slot for each of said cylinders; an ignition device mounted within said cylinder head in communication with each of said cylinders; means secured to said housing for selectively triggering said ignition devices; a plurality of -piston assemblies, a swash plate mounted within said housing for rotary movement relative thereto and in oblique relationship to said engine block and having a drive shaft secured thereto; means securing said pistons to said swash plate in preselected spaced relation to each other and for movement relative to said cylinders; means securing said swash plate to said engine block so that rotary motion imparted to said plate in response to the powered advance of said pistons relative to said cylinders is transmitted to said engine block; means on said housing for defining an inlet port `for fuel supplied to said cylinders and an exhaust port for combustion products discharged from said cylinders; an apertured plate valve mounted in mating relationship with said cylinder head and within said housing for rotary movement relative thereto; said plate valve having a plurality of pairs of slots formed therein so as to provide sequential and transient communication between said inlet and eX- haust ports of said housing and said cylinder slots; said plate valve slots being formed so that one pair of slots provides transient communication between said housing inlet and exhaust ports and one each of said cylinders at timed intervals during engine operation; and a speed reducing and load compensating means interconnecting said plate valve and said cylinder head so that said plate valve is driven by said engine block at a proportionately reduced speed but in timed relation with said engine block and a preselected frictional relationship is maintained between said mating plate valve and cylinder head.

8. An internal combustion engine which comprises a support housing; an engine block mounted in said support housing for rotary movement relative thereto; said engine block defining a plurality of piston receiving cylinders and having a cylinder head formed with a plurality of dual intake and exhaust slots one each of which communicates with each of said cylinders; an ignition device mounted in communication with each of said cylinders; means secured to said housing for selectively triggering said ignition devices; a plurality of piston assemblies; a piston assembly support plate mounted within said housing for rotary movement relative thereto and in oblique relationship to said engine block and having a drive shaft CII secured thereto; means securing said pistons to said support plate in preselected spaced relation to each other and for movement relative to said cylinders; means securing said support plate to said engine block so that rotary motion imparted to said plate in response to the powered advance of said pistons relative to said cylinders is transmitted to said engine block; means on said housing for defining an inlet port for fuel supplied to said cylinders and an exhaust port for combustion products discharged from said cylinders; and apertured plate valve mounted in mating relationship with said cylinder head and Within said housing for rotary movement relative thereto; said plate valve having apertures formed therein so as to provide sequential and transient communication between said inlet and exhaust ports of said housing and selected ones of said dual cylinder head slots; and a speed reducing and load compensating means interconnecting said plate valve and said cylinder head so that said plate valve is driven by said engine block at a proportionately reduced speed but in timed relation with said engine block and a preselected frictional relationship is maintained between said mating plate valve and cylinder head.

9. An internal combustion engine which comprises a support housing; an engine block mounted in said support housing for rotary movement relative thereto; said engine block defining a plurality of piston receiving cylinders and being formed with means that define a dual intake and exhaust slot for each of said cylinders; a plurality of piston assemblies; a support plate mounted within said housing for rotary movement relative thereto and in oblique relationship to said engine block; a drive shaft secured to said support plate; means securing said piston assemblies to said support plate in preselected spaced relation to each other and for movement relative to said cylinders; means securing said support plate to said engine block so that rotary motion imparted to said support plate in response to the powered advance of said piston assemblies relative to said cylinders is transmitted to said engine block; means on said housing for defining an inlet port for fuel supplied to said cylinders and an exhaust port for combustion products discharged from said cylinders; an apertured plate valve mounted within said housing for rotary movement relative thereto; said plate valve having apertures formed therein so as to provide sequential and transient communication between said inlet and exhaust ports of said housing and said cylinder slots; and means interconnecting said plate valve and said engine block so that said plate valve is advanced in timed relation with said engine block so that the intake of fuel to said cylinders powered advancement of said piston assemblies relative to said cylinders and the discharge of combustion products from said cylinders is reliably and sequentially controlled to effect the controlled driven rotation of said support plate and said shaft, said plate valve engaging and coasting with only those portions of said engine block that define said dual intake and exhaust slots.

10. An internal combustion engine which comprises a support housing; an engine block mounted in said support housing for rotary movement relative thereto; said engine block defining a plurality of piston receiving cylinders and being formed with means that define an intake and exhaust slot for each of said cylinders; and ignition device mounted in communication with each of said cylinders; means secured to said housing for selectively triggering said ignition devices; a plurality of piston assemblies; a piston assembly support plate mounted within said housing for rotary movement relative thereto and in oblique relationship to said engine block and having a drive shaft secured thereto; means securing said piston assemblies to said support plate in preselected spaced relation to each other and for movement relative to said cylinders; means securing said support plate to said engine block so that rotary motion imparted to said support plate in response to the powered advance of said piston assemblies relative to said cylinders is transmitted to said engine block; means on said housing for defining an inlet port for fuel supplied to said cylinders and an exhaust port for combustion products discharged from said cylinders; an apertured plate valve mounted in communication with said engine block and within said housing for rotary movement relative thereto; said plate valve having apertures formed therein so as to provide sequential and transient communication between said inlet and exhaust ports of said housing and said cylinder slots; and means interconnecting said plate valve and said engine block so that said plate valve is advanced in timed relation with said engine block so that the intake of fuel to said cylinders of said piston assemblies relative to said cylinders, and the discharge of combustion products from said cylinders is reliably and sequentially controlled to effect the controlled driven rotation of said support plate and said shaft, said plate valve engaging and coasting with only those portions of said engine block that decline said dual intake and exhaust slots.

11. An internal combustion engine in accordance with claim 1 wherein said engine is a three-cylinder four-cycle engine and said pla-te valve is advanced at an angular velocity equal to one-half the angular velocity of said engine block.

12. An internal combustion engine in accordance with claim 2 wherein said plate valve and engine block interconnecting means includes a biasing member und load balancing means for maintaining the desired frictional relationship between said plate valve and said engine block both during engine startup and engine operation.

13. An internal combustion engine in accordance with claim 8 and wherein means are provided for effecting lubrication of said engine components during engine operation.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,293,733 2/1919 Duby 123-43 1,307,045 6/1919 Galbreath 123-43 1,696,676 12/1928 Fuhr 123-43 2,783,751 3/1957 Karlan n 123--190 X FOREIGN PATENTS 1,332,565 6/1963 France.

MARK NEWMAN, Primary Examiner.

W. E. BURNS, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1293733 *Mar 22, 1918Feb 11, 1919John F DubyRotary explosive-engine.
US1307045 *Jun 10, 1918Jun 17, 1919 Utoiawa
US1696676 *Apr 30, 1927Dec 25, 1928William FuhrInternal-combustion motor
US2783751 *Jul 10, 1956Mar 5, 1957Paul KarlanInternal combustion engine
FR1332565A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4363294 *May 22, 1979Dec 14, 1982Searle Russell JPiston and cylinder machines
US4730545 *Sep 30, 1986Mar 15, 1988Karl EickmannAxial piston machine having a plurality of mechanically actuated rotary valves
Classifications
U.S. Classification123/43.00A, 123/44.00R, 123/190.4
International ClassificationF02B75/00, F02B75/26, F02B75/02
Cooperative ClassificationF02B75/26, F02B2075/027
European ClassificationF02B75/26