The Wankel Rotary Engine: A History

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McFarland, 2001 - 174 pages
Conceived in the 1930s, successfully tested in the 1950s, the darling of the automotive industry in the early 1970s, then all but abandoned before resurging as a high-performance powerplant for Mazda, the Wankel rotary engine has long been an object of fascination and mystery. A remarkably simple design, it boasts compact size, light weight and little vibration.

This well-illustrated account traces the engine's development and use in various applications. It clearly explains the working of the engine and the technical challenges it presented -- the difficulty of designing seals, early emissions troubles, high fuel consumption, and others. Several companies' efforts to overcome these problems are described in detail, as are the economic and political troubles that nearly killed the rotary in the 1970s.

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