A Nordberg Manufacturing Company two-stroke diesel radial engine for power generation and pump drive purposes.While most radial engines have been produced for gasoline fuels, there have been instances of diesel fueled engines. The Bristol Phoenix of 1928-1932 was successfully tested in aircraft and the Nordberg Manufacturing Company of the US developed and produced a series of large radial diesel engines from the 1940s.
To reduce the danger of engine fires, in 1932 the French company Clerget developed the 14D, a 14-cylinder two-stroke diesel radial engine. After a series of improvements, in 1938 the 14F2 model produced 520 hp (390 kW) at 1910 rpm cruise power, with a power-to-weight ratio near that of contemporary gasoline engines and a specific fuel consumption of 166 g/hp/hour. During WWII the research continued, but no engines were mass-produced because of the Nazi occupation, and by 1943 the engine had grown to produce over 1,000 hp (750 kW) with a turbocharger. After the war, the Clerget company was integrated in the SNECMA company and had plans for a 32-cylinder diesel engine of 4,000 hp (3,000 kW), but in 1947 the company abandoned piston engine development in favor of work on the emerging turbine engines.
The Nordberg engines were initially designed for electricity production in aluminium smelters. They differed from the norm of radial design by using two opposite cylinders as a double master instead of the more usual single master rod, and managed to run perfectly circular. The engine design also permitted even numbers of cylinders in a single row with the cylinders being fired in consecutive order. The engines were a two-stroke design and were also available in a dual-fuel gas/diesel model. A number of powerhouse installations utilising large numbers of these engines were made in the US.
Packard designed and built a diesel radial aircraft engine, the DR-980, in 1928. It was a 9 cylinder radial engine displacing 980 cubic inches and rated to produce 225 horsepower (168 kW). On 28 May 1931, a Bellanca CH-300 fitted with a DR-980, piloted by Walter Edwin Lees and Frederick Brossy, set a record for staying aloft for 84 hours and 32 minutes without being refueled. This record was not broken until 55 years later by the Rutan Voyager.
At least five companies build radials today. Vedeneyev engines produces the M-14P model, 360 hp (270 kW) (up to 450 hp (340 kW)) radial used on Yakovlevs, and Sukhoi Su-26 and Su-29 aerobatic aircraft. The M-14P has also found great favor among builders of experimental aircraft, such as the Culp's Special, and Culp's Sopwith Pup, Pitts S12 "Monster" and the Murphy "Moose". 110 hp (82 kW) 7-cylinder and 150 hp (110 kW) 9-cylinder engines are available from Australia's Rotec Engineering. HCI Aviation offers the R180 5-cylinder (75 hp (56 kW)) and R220 7-cylinder (110 hp (82 kW)), available "ready to fly" and as a build-it-yourself kit. Verner Motor, from the Czech Republic, now builds several radial engines. Models range in power from 71 hp (53 kW) to 172 hp (128 kW). Miniature radial engines for model airplane use are also available from Seidel in Germany, OS and Saito Seisakusho of Japan, and Technopower in the USA. The Saito firm is known for making three different sizes of 3-cylinder radials, as well as a 5-cylinder example, as the Saito firm is a specialist in making a large line of miniature four-stroke engines for model use in both methanol-burning glow plug and gasoline-fueled spark plug ignition engine formats.
Model radial engines
A number of multi-cylinder 4-stroke model engines have been commercially available in a radial configuration, beginning with the Japanese O.S. Max firm's FR5-300 five-cylinder, 3.0 cu.in. (50 cm3) displacement "Sirius" radial in 1986. The American 'Technopower' firm had made smaller displacement five and seven cylinder model radial engines as early as 1976, but the OS firm's engine was the first mass-produced radial engine design in aeromodeling history. The rival Saito Seisakusho firm in Japan has since produced a similary-sized five cylinder radial four stroke model engine of their own as a direct rival to the OS design, with Saito also creating a trio of three-cylinder radial engines ranging from 0.90 cu.in. (15 cm3) to 4.50 cu.in. (75 cm3) in displacement. The German Seidel firm has made both seven and nine cylinder "large" (starting at 70 cm3 displacement) radio control model radial engines, mostly for glow plug ignition, with an experimental fourteen cylinder twin-row radial being tried out.
Wed, Sep 21 2011 12:35 AM
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