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Opposed-Piston Engines Explored in SAE International Book

WARRENDALE, Pa., Oct. 21, 2009 - The opposed-piston engine, a model of power and simplicity, is explored in its entirety for the first time in SAE International’s latest book.

Authored by Jean-Pierre Pirault and Martin L.S. Flint, “Opposed Piston Engines: Evolution, Use, and Future Applications,” provides a comprehensive description of all documented opposed-piston engines from 1887 to 2006.  The major types of engines in aeronautical, automotive, marine and military applications are covered.

Using materials from historical and unpublished internal research reports, the authors present the rationale for opposed piston engines and discuss their diverse architecture, design and performance. Comparisons to four-stroke engines are made to support the case for reconsidering opposed-piston engines for certain applications.  In addition to covering the history of the engine, the authors also discuss its future applications in unmanned aerial vehicles and heavy-duty trucks.

The book is intended for engine enthusiasts and engine designers who will benefit from an in-depth understanding of the opposed-piston engine, which has set standards in power and package density, manufacturing simplicity and overall reliability.

“The book is a good read with more than 500 illustrations and performance graphs, and will be a reference almanac for those interested in unusual engines who want to know about remarkable performance and fuel economy achievements from relatively simple, robust and cost-effective power units,” Thomas W. Ryan III, 2008 SAE International President, said in the book’s foreword.

Pirault works with Powertrain Technology Ltd., an engine consultant firm in the south of England.  Previously, he worked in the research and development laboratories of Vandervell Products, a plain bearing manufacturer, before moving to companies like Ricardo, Ford Motor Company, Jaguar and AVL.

Flint is a chartered mechanical engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. During his career, he has worked for Deutz AG in Germany and Canada, BICERI, Perkins, Rolls Royce and Ricardo, experiencing most aspects of manufacture, design, research-and-development and engine testing.  He trained as an indentured apprentice with the Associated Equipment Company in the U.K., specializing in the design and manufacture of commercial vehicles and diesel engines.

The list price of this hardbound, 576-page book is $89.95; SAE International members can purchase it for $71.96.  The book and its chapters also are available in e-book format.  More information on the book can be found in SAE International’s online bookstore at

To request a media review copy, or to set up an interview with the authors, please contact

SAE International is a global association of more than 121,000 engineers and related technical experts in the automotive, aerospace and commercial-vehicle industries. SAE International's core competencies are life-long learning and standards development. SAE International's charitable arm is the SAE Foundation, which supports many programs, including A World In Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series.