The Basic Mechanical Design Of The Wright Brothers ' Engine Essays

The Basic Mechanical Design Of The Wright Brothers ' Engine Essays

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For the forty years following the first revolutionary invention from Wright brothers, airplanes used IC engines to turn propeller to generate thrust. Today, even after innovation of gas turbine engines, most general aviation or private airplanes are still powered by propellers and internal combustion engines, much like normal automobile engines. Nowadays, the most predominant engine in small range aviation format is the air-cooled piston engine which is horizontally opposed with four, six and sometimes with eight cylinders arranged in two lines on both sides of the crankshaft.
If we look back in the page of history, the basic mechanical design of the Wright brothers’ engine is almost similar to today’s four-stroke four cylinder automobile engines. The engine had four horizontal inline cylinders, 4 inch bore, cast-iron cylinders fit into an aluminum crank–case that extended outwards to from a water jacket around the cylinder barrels. There was a narrow vertical water reservoir mounted on the forward strut and this reservoir simply replenished the water jacket as water evaporated from it. The system was not actually a radiator in the typical sense, because the water did not circulate. The engine did not have any fuel pump, carburetor or any spark plug for ignition. Gasoline was supplied to the engine using gravity from a small tank. The gasoline entered a chamber and got mixed with the air coming from the atmosphere. The air-fuel mixture got vaporized by the heat coming from the crankcase. The spark required for ignition was generated with a coil and 4 dry-cells. There were two contact breaker points on the combustion chamber of each cylinder which opened and closed to pull in fresh air-fuel mixture and to release the combustion ga...


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...ing system. Cowl flaps are generally pilot operated and they are kept open at the time of high power operations like taking off or moving to higher altitudes to let more air inside the engine. Propeller spinners are also part of air-cooling system as they can guide the atmospheric air to the intake of the engine. In liquid cooling system, the temperature of the coolant liquid can be thermostatically controlled and as all the cylinders are covered with the same liquid coolant, the cylinders can be kept even in temperature. The main problem about liquid cooling is that, it might add some extra weight to the engine reducing power-weight ratio of the engine.
In today’s age, IC engine are still in use in aviation technology but they have been out-fashioned by the use of modern gas turbine engines like turbofan and turboprop in aviation technology.

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