Unusual Internal Combustion Engines

15 Aug

Pretty interesting stuff here:


Not much time to write on this one but there are a ton of explanations, cutaway diagrams, animations, etc at the link…



This cam engine has no connection beyond a coincidence of names with The Michell swashplate engineof 1920, which worked on a completely different principle. I have referred to this one throughout as The German Michel Cam Engine to underline the point.

The original documentation and the drawings are unfortunately neither as clear as they might be.

Left: The German Michel Cam Engine: 1921

This engine was produced by the Michel Engine Company of Kiel, in Germany. It was a water-cooled two-stroke Diesel with three radial cylinders 120 degrees apart. The three cylinders shared a commmon central star-shaped combustion chamber, with the cam on the outside of the cylinders. The NACA report says the three cylinders revolved along with the fuel injection pump, while the cams and housing stayed stationary, but a look at the Michel patent shows the cam rotating around the outside.

To quote from the NACA report: “The introduction of fuel, lubricating oil, and cooling water into the revolving cylinders is said to cause no difficulty.” Oh really? Was there a version where the cylinders did rotate? Confusing.

From NACA technical memorandum No 462, translation of Motorwagen Nov 20, 1927
Original source: Zeitschrift Des Vereines Deutscher Ingenieure (The magazine of the Association of German Engineers) p1405, 1925


One Response to “Unusual Internal Combustion Engines”

  1. Keith Wheeldon November 18, 2011 at 3:30 am #

    Was there a version emloying a crankshaft, in effect 3 crankshafts.

    I understand that there was an additional crank on each c/s, exterior to the crankcase using some kind of
    novel triangular plate to facilitate coupling the power from all 3 crankshafts taking a rotary drive at one
    single point. ie. one c/s position ? !

    Can anyone throw any light on this feature ? Keith

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