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Rotary engines

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Updated: 3/28/2003 1:53 pm
The Wankel rotary engine, while still not in major use, does have it's advantages including fewer moving parts, less friction area and two spark plugs per rotor to ensure total combustion of the fuel mixture. The Wankel rotary engine propels a car using the four basic functions shared by the conventional piston engine-- intake, compression, ignition and exhaust. But the similarities between the rotary engine and the piston engine end there. While a piston engine relies on the movement of a piston in a cylinder to compress the fuel mixture, a rotary engine uses a triangular rotor in a specially shaped housing. As one side of the rotor passes by the intake port, it's movement draws the fuel mixture in. Rotating toward the side with the spark plugs, the mixture is compressed and ignited, causing the rotor to continue turning. Finally, the rotor moves the exploded gasses around to the exhaust port where it escapes.

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