Gear heads of that have been around a while will immediately recognize the name of Bruce Crower. The founder of the engine parts manufacturer that is know by his name, Crower Cams are a big big name in motorsports. Needless to say Bruce Crower understands how an engine works and what needs to be done to make them run well.
I first saw an article about Crower’s work on a 6 cycle engine a couple years ago, and in fact the date on the story I link to below is about 6 years old. Crower has pioneered an approach that combines a typical internal combustion engine with the power of steam and I for one thin he may have really stumbled onto something here.
Unfortunately I can’t find a whole lot of recent information on the project so I don’t know where it stands. The design would have one major downfall that I can see and that would be the added weight of carrying a second fuel tank full of distilled water (and the rather problematic issue of finding a way to refuel that tank). Other than that I think the design is pure genius.
The engine’s first 4 strokes are the same as those of a typical Otto cycle engine: Intake, Compression, Combustion, Exhaust. Where this engine departs from the norm is that after those initial 4 strokes, a shot of distilled water is injected through a diesel style injector and onto the super heated surfaces of the piston and cylinder. The water immediately vaporizes, expands to approximately 1600 times its original mass and produces a second power stroke of the piston. He has essentially combined an internal combustion engine and a steam engine into one cylinder and in doing so capitalized on the most inefficient part of the internal combustion process — excess heat. Reportedly the process uses so much heat that Crower thinks the engines could be run with no cooling system whatsoever.
This one has got to be one of my favorite designs. It is simple, effective and truly a different approach to the process of making power.
Check out the story at the link below: