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November - The Bourke

The Internal Combustion Engine With Only 2 Moving Parts

The first practical 2-stroke commercial engine is attributed to Alfred Scott who started producing motorcycles in 1908. Some inventors of the day speculated that a more efficient 2-stroke engine would win favor with the auto manufactures due to the simplicity of building and maintaining it.

In the 1920s, Russel Bourke set out to improve the 2-stroke internal combustion engine. At this time, the 2-stroke engine had twice the power for the same engine displacement as a 4-stroke engine.

In Bourke’s design, the Scotch yoke located in the center of the engine contains the only 2 moving parts. The pistons are 180 degrees opposed and move in the same direction, rotating the yoke with each back-and-forth motion.

Bourke’s engine required significantly less fuel per horsepower hour, had significantly lower gas temperatures in the exhaust, and had the ability to run using multi-fuels such as natural gas, propane and many other yet untested fuels. These are just a few of the known efficiencies.

Bourke finished his design and built several working engines, but he faced many challenges in promoting and commercializing his engine. While he believed passionately in the potential benefits and efficiencies of his design, due to lack of test results, he encountered skepticism from the established automotive and engine industries.

Just a thought…since we are looking for efficiencies in motorized transportation, maybe it makes sense to revisit Bourke’s design?

... bob

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