Friday, February 21, 2014

World's Tiniest Flame Eater Engine

This is the smallest flame eater (flame licker) engine I've ever seen.

For those unfamiliar with flame eater engines, they run off of an external flame, usually a candle or an alcohol lamp.  They're an external combustion engine.  They're also a two stroke engine.  Sometimes they're called an atmospheric engine or a vacuum engine.

Basically you have a flame placed at the inlet valve of the engine.  You give the engine a spin to get it started.  It opens the valve.  The piston moves back, pulling hot gases from the flame into the cylinder.  When the piston is at the bottom of it's stroke, the valve closes and the hot gases are cooled very quickly by the cold cylinder.  The cooling gases contract very rapidly, forming a vacuum in the cylinder which pulls the piston back up to the top of the cylinder, then the valve opens and the inertia of the flywheel carries the piston through top-dead-center and back toward the bottom of it's stroke as it inhales more hot gases from the flame and the cycle repeats.

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