The Rotating Liner Engine (RLE) Diesel Prototype: Preliminary Testing
The Rotating Liner Engine (RLE) concept is a design concept for internal combustion engines, where the cylinder liner rotates at a surface speed of 2-4 m/s in order to assist piston ring lubrication. Specifically, we have evidence from prior art and from our own research that the above rotation has the potential of eliminating the metal-to-metal contact/boundary friction that exists close to the piston reversal areas. This frictional source becomes a significant energy loss, especially in the compression/expansion part of the cycle, when the gas pressure that loads the piston rings and skirts is high. This paper describes the Diesel RLE prototype constructed from a Cummins 4BT and the preliminary observations from initial low load testing. The critical technical challenge, namely the rotating liner face seal, appears to be operating with negligible gas leakage and within the hydrodynamic lubrication regime for the loads tested (peak cylinder pressures of the order of 80 bar).