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Publication numberUS3812828 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 28, 1974
Filing dateFeb 14, 1973
Priority dateFeb 17, 1972
Publication numberUS 3812828 A, US 3812828A, US-A-3812828, US3812828 A, US3812828A
InventorsGriffiths F
Original AssigneeGriffiths F
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Rotary engine
US 3812828 A
Abstract
A rotary engine incorporating a housing wherein a cylindrical center cavity is formed to contain a cylindrical piston and radial vanes extending therefrom that divide the center cavity into equidistantly spaced firing chambers. The cylindrical piston is journaled as an eccentric to an off-center axle, and is induced by sequential combustion of a fuel-air mixture in each firing chamber to move eccentrically in a circular path. The off-center shaft to which the cylindrical piston is journaled extends off-center at a normal angle from one side of an enlarged portion of a drive shaft, which drive shaft is in turn rotated by the eccentric movement of the cylindrical piston and the off-center shaft journaled thereto. The cylindrical piston of the invention is arranged to be supported within the housing center cavity on one side by spaced reaction bearings, and by the output shaft on the other, and incorporates expansion seals arranged in the piston sides and along the radial vanes for maintaining the individual firing chamber integrity, which radial vanes are arranged in spaced radial slots formed in the cylindrical piston to act as both firing chamber end walls and as valve heads for controlling chamber fuel and air intake and exhaust.
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States tent 1 1 1111 3,812,828

Griffiths 1 May 28, 1974 1 RoTARY ENGINE 57 ABSTRACT [76] Inventor: Franklin E. Griffiths, 1494-8 S.W. A rotary engine incorporating a housing wherein a cy- Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 841 15 lindrical center cavity is formed to contain a cylindri- I cal piston and radial vanes extending therefrom that [22] 1973 divide the center cavity into equidistantly spaced fir- {21 1 Appl. No.: 332,343 ing chambers. The cylindrical piston is journaled as an eccentric to an off-center axle, and is induced by sequential combustion of a fuel-air mixture in each fir- [30] Foreign Apphcanon Prmmy Data ing chamber to move eccentrically in a circular path. Feb. 17, 1972 Japan 47-16623 The 0ff cemer Shahto Which the cylindrical piston is journaled extends off-center at a normal angle from [52] US. Cl 123/845, 418/88, 418/89, one Side of an enlarged portion of a drive shaft Which 418/61 418/147 drive shaft is in turn rotated by the eccentric move- [51] hit. Cl... F02b 55/14 ment of the Cylindrical piston and the 0ff center Shaft [58] F'eld of Search 123/845 8'01? journaled thereto. The cylindrical piston of the inven- 418/59 611 63, 89 tion is arranged to be supported within the housing center cavity on one side by spaced reaction bearings, [56] References cued and by the output shaft on the other, and incorporates UNITED STATES PATENTS expansion seals arranged in the piston sides and along 1,525,364 2/1925 Brett l23/8.45 the radial vanes for maintaining the individual fi g 1,841,841 1/1932 Munn chamber integrity, which radial vanes are arranged in 2,295,! 17 9/1942 Koester.... spaced radial slots formed in the cylindrical piston to 3,312,201 4/ 1967 (313509 act as both firing chamber end walls and as valve 3,447,513 6/l969 Schneider 123/847 Primary Examiner-Clarence R. Gordon heads for controlling chamber fuel and air intake and exhaust.

7 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures ROTARY ENGINE BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to rotary engines capable of translating eccentric movement of a circular piston into a useful rotary output.

2. Prior Art Of recent years developments in the field of internal combustion engines have been directed away from the traditional piston-type engine towards rotary engines, such as the Wankel engine. Some of the advantages of such rotary engines are that the engine can be constructed to have lesser dimensions and weight, and involve fewer moving parts than a similar piston engine, and yet be capable of delivering a comparable or better power output.

The Wankel engine, in its most elemental form, involves a single firing chamber wherein a single essentially triangular shaped piston is arranged to rotate through a full circle. The present invention, unlike the Wankel, employs a housing wherein a single circular piston is translated within a plurality of firing chambers through an eccentric circular path, rather than through a full circle of rotation.

The piston translation of the present invention is certainly distinct from the full circle of piston rotation of the Wankel engine, and is therefore clearly not anticipated by the Wankel or Wankel-type engines. My earlier US. Pat. No. 2,695,597, however, discloses a fluid engine that functions somewhat like the rotary engine of the present invention, in that it involves a cylindrical piston axially connected to move within a cylindrical cavity through an eccentric circular path to an eccentric. The fluid engine of my aforesaid US. Pat. also, like the present invention, incorporates radial vanes therewith that divide an engine cavity into a plurality of separate chambers, and are reciprocated with piston movement back and forth over the inner walls of the cylindrical cavity. The radial vanes of my aforesaid patent are, however, unlike the radial vanes of my present invention in that each incorporates a valve head across an end thereof that is flexibly coupled at a normal angle across the radial vane end, and incorporates sealing means therewith to maintain the integrity of the individual firing chambers. Additionally, unlike my aforesaid fluid engine, the above described valve head is moved by the piston back and forth within an appropriate seat formed in the housing cylindrical wall, and will cant sufficiently, with respect to the individual radial vane during such, to maintain a top surface thereof in constant sealing engagement against the seat such that inlet and exhaust ports within the individual seat, that communicate with the engine exterior, are sequentially opened and closed.

Neither the fluid engine of my aforesaid patent nor any device within my knowledge employs the radial vane, piston, and valve head sealing arrangements of my present invention for maintaining the integrity of the individual firing chambers. nor does any device within my knowledge employ radial vanes like those of the present invention that serve as both firing chamber end walls and valve heads for selectively opening and closing inlet and exhaust ports.

Seats are shown in U.S. Pat. No. l,734,433 formed in the housing of an engine that, while they might appear to be somewhat like the seats of my engine housing, are for containing guide rods extended thereacross that have slides arranged to travel thereover. The shape and arrangements of the seats shown in the aforesaid patent are. therefore, only incidental to the vane arrangement shown therein, and do not anticipate the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is a principal object of the present invention to provide a rotary engine consisting of a housing wherein a cylindrical cavity is formed to accomodate a cylindrical piston translating through an eccentric or circular path that is axially connected to an output or drive shaft to provide a continuous rotation thereto.

Another object is to provide a rotary engine capable of producing an efficient rotational output involving a minimum of moving parts that incorporates an arrangement of radial vanes spaced around the cylindrical piston sliding in radial slots therein, which radial vanes act as both chamber and separators, and as the valve heads that travel with cylindrical piston movement back and forth over a valve seat selectively opening and closing chamber exhaust and inlet ports.

Another object is to provide sealing means for maintaining the integrity of the sub-chambers or firing chambers formed between the individual radial vanes.

Still another object is to provide valve heads for the individual radial vanes that are capable of canting with respect to the individual radial vanes, so as to maintain a constant valve head engagement with the valve seat.

Still another object is to provide an oil circulation system incorporated with the rotary engine of the present invention for both cooling and lubricating the rotary engine moving parts.

Still another object is to provide a rotary engine that is simple to construct and will operate efficiently, producing an exhaust output therefrom that is low in pollutants.

Principal features of the present invention include a housing formed with a cylindrical center chamber cavity therein. A drive shaft projecting at a normal angle from the side of an enlarged center portion thereof is journaled axially through approximately the center of one housing wall such that a second off-center shaft, extending from the enlarged center portion of the drive shaft opposite to the drive shaft, is arranged within the housing center cavity and is journaled axially into the center of a cylindrical piston, forming an eccentric therein. The cylindrical piston is journaled to the offcenter shaft and, when moved within the center cavity, travels in an eccentric circular path along the center cavity wall, inducing a rotation of the off-center shaft journaled thereto. The cylindrical piston eccentric circular path of travel has a radius that is equal to the distance between the centers of the off-center and drive shafts.

Radial vanes are positioned with spaced radial slots in the cylindrical piston and, when the cylindrical piston is moved eccentrically, will move back and forth as the piston radial slots slide up and down thereon. The ends of the radial vanes are supported on their lower ends by cam surfaces, opposite thereto on a center shoulder extending from the housing wall into the cen ter cavity through the center of which shoulder the drive shaft is journaled with the vane upper or top vane ends arranged as valve heads that travel back and forth within seats formed in the housing center cavity cylindrical wall. The radial vanes divide the center cavity space between the outer circumference of the cylindrical piston and the cylindrical center cavity wall into individual sub-chambers, whose respective internal areas cyclically change as the cylindrical piston in translated eccentrically through its circular path. The back and forth travel of the individual radial vane valve head ends selectively open and close inlet and exhaust portals formed in the individual housing valve seats.

Threaded openings are preferably formed in the individual seats to accommodate spark plugs, or like spark producing means for providing a timed spark to ignite a combustible mixture within the individual subchamber, functioning as individual firing chambers. Ignition of which combustible mixture causes an expansion of the gas therein that translates eccentrically the cylindrical piston away from the housing chamber cylindrical wall and along its circular path, inducing rotation of the off-center shaft and the connected drive shaft.

The valve head portions of the individual radial vanes of the present invention are connected normally across the tops of the radial vanes so as to be capable of pivoting or canting with respect to the radial vane to compensate for displacement of the individual radial vane from a normal angle with the valve seat, insuring that a close sealed condition is at all times maintained between the valve head and seat. The valve heads further include sealing means associated therewith capable of filling the space between the valve head and radial vane top to constantly maintain the individual firing chamber integrity.

Expansion seals are provided with the cylindrical piston and radial vane sides for contacting the housing cylindrical cavity side walls, with similar expansion seals included between the cylindrical piston radial slots and radial vanes therein, that maintain the individual subchamber or firing chamber integrity.

Roller bearings are included with the cylindrical piston extending normally from the side thereof opposite to the drive shaft, that are arranged to travel within circular guide tracks formed as cylindrical holes in the opposite housing end wall. The roller bearings control cylindrical piston travel to within its desired eccentric circular path, preventing unwanted piston wobble.

The cylindrical piston of the present invention is preferably formed having a continuous hollow center portion that receives a circulating oil supply there through to dissipate heat produced by combustion within the individual firing chambers. Oil is preferably circulated through holes in the off-center shaft into the cylindrical piston hollow portion from where the oil travels through holes arranged through the piston sides into the housing cylindrical center cavity, below the expansion seals, thereby cooling and lubricating the moving parts therein. The described oil flow through the off-center shaft also travels through the enlarged portion of the drive shaft to lubricate and cool the bearing coupling of the drive shaft through the housing wall. From the housing cylindrical center cavity the oil flow travels through a drain opening back to an oil cooling and filtering arrangement for recirculation through the engine.

Additional objects and features of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken together with the accompanying drawings.

THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of the rotary engine of the present invention with an oil circulation system therefore shown in schematic;

FIG. 2, a profile sectional view taken along the line 2-2 of FIG. I; and

FIG. 3, a profile perspective view of a section of the cylindrical piston and a radial vane of the present invention;

FIG. 3a, a profile sectional view taken along the line 3a3a of the radial vane of FIG. 3;

FIG. 4, a sectional view taken along curved line 4-4 of FIG. 3, exposing the piston expansion seal arrangement of the present invention;

FIG. 5, a sectional view taken along the line 55 of FIG. 4;

FIGS. 6-11 are profile sectional views of the rotary engine of the present invention, wherein the engine interior is exposed to illustrate the firing sequence of one chamber of the rotary engine taken at sequential angular increments of travel of the off-center shaft, shown as a line drawn between the centers of the drive and off-center shafts commencing at a point 10 clockwise from a zero point at the top of the engine and going through of arc.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring now to the drawings:

A preferred form of the rotary engine 10 of the present invention is shown in the exploded view of FIG. 1 with a portion of the engine operation cycle shown in FIGS. 6-11. While the rotary engine 10 is shown herein as being arranged as an internal combustion engine, it should be obvious that by appropriate modifications, the invention could be adapted for use with steam; could be used as an air compressor; or as a fluid pump.

Commencing at the far left side of the exploded view of FIG. I, the rotary engine 10 is arranged within a housing 11 formed having a cylindrical center cavity 12 therein. The housing 11 is open along one side thereof to receive the rotary engine 10 internal components, with a side plate 13 aligned to close off the cylindrical center cavity 12 when the engine internal components are properly arranged therein. Six bolts 14 are shown in FIG. 1, aligned for insertion through holes 15 formed in both the side plate 13 and the housing 11. Nuts 16 are shown also in FIG. 1, aligned with the ends 14a of bolts 14 to be turned thereover, securing the side plate 13 to the housing 11 open side, closing the central cavity 12.

A closed interior sidewall 17 of the housing 11 is shown in FIG. I having a shoulder 18 arranged in the center thereof, which shoulder 18 projects from the wall into the cylindrical central cavity 12 at a normal angle therefrom. A first hole 19, shown in FIG. 1, is formed through the housing sidewall 17 and shoulder 18, which first hole is center counterbored through the shoulder 18, forming a larger second hole 20. A face 21 is thereby formed between the first and second holes 19 and 20, extending at a normal angle from each of the respective adjacent hole edges to contain as a seat a side 24a of an enlarged portion 24 of a drive shaft 23. A standard type roller bearing 22, FIG. 1, is arranged within the second hole to support the outer circumference of the enlarged portion 24 of the drive shaft 23 seated thereon.

The drive shaft 23, additional to the enlarged portion 24, consists of a center shaft that projects outwardly at a normal angle from the center of the side 24a of the enlarged portion 24, and of an off-center shaft 26 that projects also at a normal angle from an off-center point on the opposite side 24b of the enlarged portion 24. Both the center and off-center shafts 25 and 26 extend parallel to one another from opposite sides of the enlarged portion 24. In assembling the rotary engine 10, the drive shaft center shaft 25 is fitted through the second hole 20 and is journaled into the first hole 19 with the outer circumference of the drive shaft enlarged portion 24 seated against the interior race of the roller bearing 22 with the side 24a of the enlarged portion 24 resting against the face 21. The eccentric shaft 26 thereby extends into the housing central cavity 12 to receive a center opening 28 ofa rotor or cylindrical piston 27, hereinafter referred to as cylindrical piston, axi- I ally journaled thereon. A standard type roller bearing 29 is arranged within the center opening 28 such that an inner race thereof receives the eccentric shaft 26.

With the cylindrical piston 27 journaled onto the eccentric shaft 26, movement of the cylindrical piston is confined to an eccentric circular path having as a radius the distance between the respective centers of the center and off-center shafts 25 and 26. In operation, as will be explained in detail later herein, the cylindrical piston 27 is urged away from a cylindrical wall 31 of the center cavity 12 such that the piston outer circumference, hereinafter referred to as piston reaction surface 30, appears to roll therealong, thereby rotating the offcenter shaft 26 journaled thereto. Movement of the cylindrical piston 27 through its eccentric circular path thereby induces a full circle rotation of the off-center shaft 26 from whence is derived a full circle of rotation of the drive shaft 23.

During travel of the cylindrical piston within the housing cavity 12, opposite points on the piston reaction surface 30 and the cylindrical wall 31 are therefore brought into and out of close proximity to one another, altering the area therebetween from a point where the respective surfaces are closely proximate to a point of full expansion.

Radial vanes 33, shown in FIGS. 1-3, are included with the cylindrical piston 27 as end walls dividing the area between the piston reaction surface 30 and cavity cylindrical wall 31 into individual sub-chambers a, 35b, and 350, FIGS. 6-11.

The radial vanes 33, included with the cylindrical piston 27, are arranged in a sliding relationship within radial slots 32 spaced equidistantly around the cylindrical piston. Each of the radial slots 32 is formed to extend at a normal angle inwardly from the piston reaction surface 30, and includes sealing means thereacross that will be described in detail later herein.

Each of the aforementioned radial vanes 33 are composed of a radial vane body 34, having a head 36 formed as a flat plate that extends at approximately a normal angle across the top end 34a thereof, to stand beyond the piston reaction surface 30, resting within one of the seats 39, 39', or 39" spaced around the cylindrical wall 31. The individual heads 36, as shown best in the expanded view of FIG. 3, are secured in floating arrangement to the ends 34a of the individual vane bodies 34 by a plurality of pins 50, shown in dotted lines in FIG. 3, and as a solid representation in FIG. 3a, that extend from the vane body end 34a in the plane thereof, and are fitted into holes 36a. Shown in FIG. 3a, the holes 36a are preferably formed to flare outwardly from a lesser diameter to greater diameters within the head 36 such that the head 36 floating thereon can be canted slightly with respect to the vane body 34. Integrity of the floating connection between the head 36 and the vane body end 34a is maintained by pivot seals 51 that are arranged in appropriate slots 51a in the head 36 to extend across the vane body end 34a on either side thereof. Should the head 36 be canted with respect to the vane body end 34a, the one seal 51 will always be compressed to maintain sealing engagement between the head 36 and the vane body end. Of course, more than one seal 51 could be included along each side of the radial vane body 34 to further insure against the breaching of the integrity of the vane body-to-head connection. The mounting of the individual head 36 and vane body end 34a with seals 51 allows canting of the vane head 36 out of a normal attitude with respect to the vane body end while denying passage to an expansion medium. The head 36 will therefore be maintained closely against the surface of the particular seat 39, 39', or 39", FIG. 1, even though the radial vane head 36 should be canted with respect to the vane body 34 as the radial vane 33 is moved back and forth, as will be explained later herein, during translation of the cylindrical piston 27 through its eccentric circular path.

The end 34b of the vane body 34, opposite to the top end 34a thereof, has a foot 37 secured at a normal angle across a portion thereof, FIGS. 1 and 2. Shown best in FIG. 1 and FIGS. 6-11, the feet 37 contact and slide back and forth on guide surfaces 38 that are spaced around the outer circumference of the cylindrical shoulder 18.

Translation of the cylindrical piston 27 through its circular path moves the cylindrical piston radial slots 32 up and down on the radial vane bodies 34; moves the vane feet 37 back and forth between the housing side wall 17 and an opposite face of an inset portion 27c of the cylindrical piston 27 over the respective opposite guide surface 38; and moves the head 36 thereof back and forth over a flat surface 39a of an opposite seat 39, 39', or 39", FIGS. 6-11, in the central cavity cylindrical wall 31.

It should, of course, be obvious the individual cam surfaces 38 should be formed to have the same dimension as do the seat surfaces 39a, and to be both opposite and parallel to one another.

Inlet and exhaust ports 40a and 40b, respectively, are arranged in the surfaces 39a of the seats 39, 39', and 39", and are selectively opened and closed by movement of the vane head 36 thereover during cylindrical piston 27 translation. The individual vane heads 36 therefore operate as valve heads for opening or closing the ports 40a and 40b into a particular sub-chamber 35a, 35b, or 350.

As was outlined earlier herein, the rotary engine 10 is operated to produce a rotational output by displacing the cylindrical piston 27 away from the cavity cylindrical wall 31. Any medium capable of expanding between the cylindrical piston reaction surface 30 and the cavity cylindrical wall 31 will therefore move the cylindrical piston 27 through its eccentric circular path to rotate the off-center shaft 26 and connected center shaft 25, which expansion medium, it should be understood, will be contained within a particular subchamber 35a, 35b, and 35c by the vane head seals 51, by radial vane end expansion seals 52, and by cylindrical piston chamber expansion seals 53, whose arrangement and function will be explained in detail later herein. An expansion medium that is preferred for use in the embodiment of the rotary engine 10, described herein, is the timed combustion of a fuel-air mixture within the particular sub-chamber 35a, 35!), or 350. Such combustion is initiated by introduction of a spark from one of the spark plugs 41, FIG. 1, shown turned into appropriate holes 42 of the sub-chambers. Such explosions of a fuel-air mixture within a particular subchamber 35a, 35b, or 350 are timed or synchronized so that the cylindrical piston reaction surface 30 will be forced away from the center cavity cylindrical wall 31, translating the cylindrical piston 27 through its eccentric circular path, inducing a continuous rotation of the drive shaft 23.

While sequential combustion of a fuel-air mixture within the chambers a, 35b, and 350 is the preferred form of expansion medium, it should be obvious that other expansion mediums such as steam or a pressurized liquid could be introduced therein to expand appropriately the cylindrical piston 27 reaction surface away from the cylindrical wall. Such substitution of expansion medium would, however, necessitate rearrangement of the inlet and exhaust ports and 40b, respectively with the head 36.

It should, of course, be obvious that sequential introduction of an expansion medium within the subchambers 35a, 35b, and 35c could induce forces tending to cant the cylindrical piston 27, causing the piston to wobble around its journal mounting with the eccentric shaft 26. To prohibit such unwanted cylindrical piston displacement, spaced reaction bearings 43 are secured to extend normally outwardly from a side 27b of the cylindrical piston 27 to continuously contact and travel along one of the circular tracks 44 that are formed as spaced cylindrical holes in the inner surface of the side plate 13. Shown best in the sectional view of FIG. 2, each reaction bearing consists of a post 45 that extends outwardly at a normal angle from the cylindrical piston side 27b. A roller 46 is journaled over the post 45 and is maintained axially thereover by a pin 47 that is inserted longitudinally into the end 45a of the post 45 such that the outer circumference thereof contacts to retain the roller 46 thereon. The roller 46 is arranged to continuously engage the opposite circular track 44, rolling thereover as the cylindrical piston 27 is translated through its eccentric circular path.

Expansion seals 52 and 53, previously mentioned herein, are arranged, respectively, with the radial vanes 33 and the cylindrical piston 27 to expand between the vanes and piston into contact with opposite surfaces to maintain the integrity of the individual sub-chambers 35a, 35b, and 35c. Expansion seals 52, shown best in FIGS. 2 and 3, are preferably arranged within longitudinal grooves 52a, formed in the opposite sides 340 of the radial vane body 34, and are biased by leaf springs 52b outwardly therefrom to engage the housing sidewall 17 and the inner surface of the side plate 13. The expansion seals 53, like the expansion seals 52, are biased outwardly by leaf springs 53a from arcuate grooves 53b, FIGS. 3 and 4, that are formed in opposite sides 27a and 27b of the cylindrical piston 27 and from grooves 530 that extend across the radial slots 32. The expansion seal 53, FIG. 4, is formed from right angle seal sections having interlocking edges 53d, FIG. 5, that are arranged to overlap one another sliding such that the expansion seal 53, under the urgings of the leaf springs 53a, will simultaneously expand outwardly from the cylindrical piston sides 27a and 27b to contact the housing cylindrical chamber 12 walls, and will expand from the sides of the radial slots 32 into contact with the radial vane body portions 34. During such outward expansion, the expansion seal 53 integrity is maintained by the one interlocking seal section edge 53d sliding over the other, prohibiting passage of the expansion medium therebetween.

Shown best in FIGS. 1 and 2, the cylindrical piston 27 of the present invention is preferably hollow, having a continuous central cavity 55 formed therein. Forming the cylindrical piston 27 with such a cavity, of course, minimizes the mass of metal of the piston thereby limiting the forces of inertia involved in translating the piston through its eccentric circular path, and makes possible the incorporation of an oiling system therewith, involving introducing an oil flow through the piston cavity 55 to both cool and lubricate the moving parts during rotary engine 10 operation.

The above mentioned oiling system of the present invention involves forming a longitudinal bore 56, shown in dotted lines in FIG. 1, through the off-center shaft 25 and partially through the drive shaft enlarged portion 24, and connecting that bore 56 on its open end 56a to an end of an oil inlet line 57. A plurality of radial holes 58a and 58b are formed in the respective off-center shaft and the enlarged portions 26 and 24 of the drive shaft 23 that communicates with the longitudinal bore 56 such that oil will pass therethrough. Holes 59a and 59b are formed through the respective roller bearings 29 and 22, receiving oil passing through the radial holes 580 and 58b, respectively. An oil flow through the eccentric shaft radial holes 58a, in part, flows around to lubricating the roller bearing 29 with the balance of the oil flow traveling through openings 60, FIG. 2, into the cylindrical piston central cavity 55. Oil flowing into the central cavity 55 circulates therein, absorbing heat from the cylindrical piston 27, and then travels out of the central cavity through a port 61 formed through an inset portion 27c of the piston side 270. Oil flowing from the cylindrical piston 27 travels into the housing central cavity 12 between the cylindrical shoulder 18 and the walls of the inset portion 27c of the cylindrical piston, lubricating and cooling the moving parts therein, and then traveling out from the housing central cavity [2 through a drain hole 62 formed through the interior sidewall 17. The drain hole 62 is connected to an oil return line 63 that ends in an oil storage and cooling tank 64, shown in schematic in FIG. 1, wherein the oil is cooled and filtered by screen 64a, shown in dotted lines, after which it travels through a pump inlet 650 into an oil pump 65. The oil pump 65 forces the oil flow back through the oil inlet line 57 to again travel through the rotary engine 10.

The oil flow, additional to passing in and through the cylindrical piston 27, also travels through the holes 58b in the drive shaft enlarged portion 24, lubricating theroller bearing 22 and the adjacent center shaft 25, and

a bearing, not shown, used therewith, and passing by and through the bearing 22 and into the housing central cavity 12 for return through the drain hole 62.

Of course, as desired, the longitudinal bore 56 could be extended, not shown, into the center shaft 25, and holes, not shown, formed therethrough to lubricate the shaft outer circumference, and any bearing, not shown, arranged therewith. Alternatively, the longitudinal bore 56 could be extended, not shown, through the drive shaft 23 with an oil return line connected to the end of the center shaft 25.

The rotary engine of the present invention is assembled by joining the exploded components shown in FIG. 1, such that the individual radial vane body portions 34 fit into the individual radial slots 32 with the respective radial vane heads 36 engaging the seat surfaces 39a of the respective seat 39, 39', or 39" and the radial vane feet 37 travel within the inset portion 270 of the cylindrical piston 27 back and forth over the cam surfaces 28. Translation of the cylindrical piston 27 through its circular path therefore moves the individual slide vane 37 back and forth over the cam surface 38, and the sliding vane valve head 36 back and forth over the seat surface 39a opening and closing off selectively the inlet and exhaust ports 40a and 40b therein.

FIGS. 6-11 are included herein to illustrate a partial cycle of operation of the rotary engine 10, with FIG. 6 illustrating the beginning of a combustion cycle within the sub-chamber 3511 as reflected by a line drawn through the centers of the center shaft and offcenter shaft 26 that forms a 10 radial angle with a compass zero point bisecting the seat 39. A fuel-air mixture, it should be assumed, has been compressed in the chamber 350 in FIG. 6 with the adjacent radial vane heads 36 acting as valve heads, having closed off the adjacent inlet port 400 formed through the surface 39a of the seat 39. The mixture within the chamber 350 is then exploded by introducing therein a spark from the spark plug 41.

FIG. 7 shows the drive shaft 23 having been rotated by the explosion within the sub-chamber 35a such that the line between the centers of the center shaft 25 and off-center shaft 26 forms a 40 radial angle with respect to the zero line established through the adjacent seat 39. The expanding gas, at this point in the cycle, has translated the cylindrical piston away from the central cavity cylindrical wall 31, rotating in a clockwise direction the drive shaft 23.

FIGS. 8-10 show the off-center shaft 26 rotated in response to the expanding gases in sub-chamber 35a through 70, l00, and 130 angular attitudes wtih respect to the established zero line, further spreading apart the piston reaction surface from the central cavity cylindrical wall 31, rotating the drive shaft 23 while the inlet and exhaust ports 40a and 40b remain closed.

FIG. 11 shows the chamber a fully open, with the drive shaft 23 rotated to a point where the centerline between centers of the off-center and center shafts 26 and 25 form a 160 radial angle with the established zero line. In this figure, piston 27 has been translated through its eccentrical circular path such that the reaction surface 30 is at its furthest point from central cavity cylindrical wall 31, fully opening the cavity 35a, and the valve head 36 in the seat 39' has, at this point in the cycle, begun to move off from the exhaust port 40b, formed in the seat face 390, such that the combusted gases in the chamber 35a are beginning to be exhausted therefrom.

Continued rotation of the drive shaft 23 will move the piston reaction surface 30 back into close proximity with the central cavity cylindrical wall 31, further opening the exhaust port 40b in the seat 39', and forcing the exhausted gases therethrough; whereafter, continued rotation displaces the head off from the port 40a in the seat 39 which will be opened to admit a fuel-air mixture, and again closes the exhaust port 401) in the seat 39. The admitted gas-air mixture is, of course, pressurized by continued cylindrical piston translation through its eccentric circular path until the 10 radial angular attitude is again attained, whereat the mixture is ignited, as has been explained earlier herein, and the described cycle repeated.

Although only the cyclicoperation of the rotary engine 10 with respect to sub-chamber 35a has been explained in detail herein, it should be obvious that the functioning of the engine, with respect to the other subchambers 35b and 35c is the same, with combustion occurring sequentially in each chamber. Such sequential combustion is, of course, initiated by the spark plugs 41, with timing for plug firing, it should be assumed, provided by standard ignition timing means, not shown, to coincide with when the cylindrical piston 27 arrives at an optimum location within the specified chamber 35a, 35b, and 35c. Although a carburetor system for mixing and transmitting a fuel-air mixture to the inlet ports 40a is not shown herein, it should be assumed that such a carburetor system would be a standard item, and could be easily incorporated with the rotary engine 10 of the present invention.

As was mentioned earlier herein, the invention of a rotary engine as disclosed herein can easily be modified for use with steam or a fluid under pressure. While a utilization of a different expansion medium would obviously involve changing appropriately the embodiment of the rotary engine 10 described herein, it is believed that the oil flow system, the respective radial vane head and cylindrical piston seals, and the radial vane floating head construction would operate successfully with any pressure medium.

Shown in FIG. 1, spaced holes 66 are formed through the housing 11 and the side plate 13 for passing an engine coolant therethrough.

The preferred embodiment of the present invention has shown herein to include three spaced radial vanes 33, spaced appropriately to form three chambers 35a, 35b, and 35c within the one center cavity 12. It should, of course, be obvious that more or less than three such radial vanes could be incorporated with the cylindrical piston 27, which incorporation would not depart from the subject matter coming within the scope of this invention.

The preferred embodiment of the rotary engine 10 of the present invention herein involves only one center cavity 12 and one cylindrical piston 27, moving eccentrically therein. While such a rotary engine 10 would function and provide a rotary power output therefrom, it is preferable to fabricate such an engine wtih a plurality of such center cavities 12 having cylindrical pistons 27 therein arranged alongside one another, each acting on a common drive shaft; which arrangement would not depart from the subject matter coming within the scope of this invention.

Although a preferred form of my invention has been herein disclosed, it is to be understood that the present disclosure is made by way of example, and that variations are possible without departing from the subject matter coming within the scope of the following claims, which subject matter I regard as my invention.

I claim:

1. A rotary engine comprising a housing having a cylindrical cavity formed therein;

a drive shaft having center and off-center shafts extending oppositely to one another outwardly from opposite sides of an enlarged body portion thereof, which drive shaft is journaled through a wall of said housing such that said off-center shaft extends to within said housing cylindrical cavity;

a cylindrical piston axially journaled to said offcenter shaft;

a plurality of radial vanes arranged to extend from said cylindrical piston to contact the cylindrical surface of said housing cylindrical cavity;

plurality of radial slots formed in space arrangement around said cylindrical piston for receiving said plurality of radial vanes;

expansion seal means arranged between said plurality of radial slots and said plurality of radial vanes for prohibiting leakage of an expansion medium therebetween;

expansion seal means arranged with said plurality of radial vanes for engaging the opposite housing cylindrical cavity walls, prohibiting leakage of an expansion medium;

expansion seal means arranged with the cylindrical piston for engaging said opposite housing cylindrical cavity walls, prohibiting leakage of an expansion medium;

a plurality of spaced seats formed in said cylindrical wall of said housing cylindrical cavity, arranged to receive ends to said plurality of radial vanes, each having inlet and exhaust ports formed therein;

valve head means flexibly coupled across each of said plurality of radial vanes as the seat engaging ends thereof, arranged to be capable of canting from a normal angle with each of said radial vanes for maintaining close contact between said individual valve head means and seat;

seal means arranged with each said radial vane for prohibiting leakage of an expansion medium between said valve head means and its connection across said individual radial vane; and means for lubricating and cooling the moving parts of said rotary engine.

2. A rotary engine as recited in claim l, wherein the valve head means end of each individual radial vane is biased into engagement with said cylindrical wall of said housing cavity by a shoulder that projects from an inner wall of said housing into said cylindrical cavity, which shoulder has spaced cam surfaces formed around the outer circumference thereof, opposite and parallel to the seats that engage the ends of the individual radial vanes opposite to the valve head means ends thereof.

3. A rotary engine as recited in claim 2, further including foot means secured across the cam surface engaging ends of the individual radial vanes for sliding back and forth on said cam surface; and

a counterbore formed in the side of the cylindrical piston to accommodate the shoulder and the foot means secured across the individual radial vanes.

4. A rotary engine as recited in claim 1, further including a plurality of spaced reaction formed each having a roller portion that extends from a side of the cylindrical piston; and

a plurality of guide cavities fromed as spaced cylindrical holes in the side opposite thereto of the housing cylindrical cavity that receives said reaction bearings such that the roller portions thereof each travel along a cylindrical wall of the guide cavity opposite thereto.

5. A rotary engine as recited in claim 1, wherein three radial vanes are included as the plurality of radial vanes of the invention; and

three radial slots are formed in spaced arrangement around the cylindrical piston as the plurality of radial slots of the invention.

6. A rotary engine as recited in claim 1, wherein the seal means arranged between each said individual radial vane and said individual radial slot and the seal means arranged with the cylindrical piston consist of a plurality of continuous seals, each broken strategically such that the broken ends thereof overlap each other to allow the individual seal to be simultaneously expanded outwardly, during which expansion the overlapping ends of each said strategic break slide over one another maintaining seal inmeans for lubricating the moving parts of the engine consist of a source of lubricating oil under pressure;

a longitudinal bore formed in the drive shaft having radial holes formed in said off-center shaft that connect to said longitudinal bore;

means for connecting said source of lubricating oil to said longitudinal bore;

a continuous cavityformed within said cylindrical piston;

at least one hole formed through the journaled connection of said cylindrical piston with said offcenter shaft and into said cylindrical piston continuous cavity;

at least one hole formed in the side of said cylindrical piston communicating with said continuous cavity therein;

an oil return opening formed through the housing communicating with the housing cylindrical cavity therein; and

an oil return line connecting said oil return opening to said source of lubricating oil.

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Referenced by
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US3951112 *Nov 21, 1974Apr 20, 1976Lee HunterRotary internal combustion engine with rotating circular piston
US3953159 *Jan 20, 1975Apr 27, 1976Lee HunterInternal combustion engine
US3964442 *Feb 4, 1974Jun 22, 1976Lee HunterInternal combustion engine
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Classifications
U.S. Classification418/61.1, 418/89, 418/147, 418/88
International ClassificationB07C3/08, F01C1/32, F01C1/00, B07C3/00, G07D9/00, B07C3/02, B65H7/12, A63F7/02
Cooperative ClassificationF01C1/32
European ClassificationF01C1/32