Research at Romanian University Develops 3D Printed Two-Stroke Airplane Engine Prototype

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[Image: RC Airplane World]

I fly on an airplane maybe once or twice per year, but I admit that I don’t know a lot about planes, or engines; I just have faith that it will get me where I need to go. According to Experimental Aircraft Info, for each power impulse, every airplane engine requires a combustion cycle of intake, compression, power, and exhaust. Four-stroke engines complete this cycle using two crankshaft revolutions and four piston strokes, while a two-stroke engine accomplishes it with two piston strokes and one crankshaft revolution, completed twice as often as the four-stroke engines do. A two-stroke engine is more powerful and durable than a four-stroke engine, and the response and acceleration is better as well: as each two-stroke engine cylinder produces one power stroke for each revolution, there’s a faster response to load changes.

Earlier this month, Valentin Stamate, a researcher with Transilvania University in Brasov, presented a prototype he developed of what he’s calling the first 3D printed two-stroke airplane engine. Stamate has been working on his research at the university in Romania for the past four years; he was previously a member of the faculty for the Technological Engineering and Industrial Management department, but stopped teaching two years ago in order to focus solely on his research.

[Image: Mediafax]

“Making this engine is useful because, in the future, we could drop the manufacturing of matrices, which come with high production costs, and design the prototype with the help of the 3D printing technology,” Stamate explained. “Then the series production can start.”

[Image: Mediafax]

We’ve talked about 3D printed engine components before, like engine injectorsfuel nozzles, and a thrust chamber assembly; we’ve even talked about 3D printed engines for drones, rockets, and planes. But this looks to be the first 3D printed two-stroke engine we’ve seen. Transilvania University in Brasov covered all of the prototype’s manufacturing expenses for Stamate, which ended up costing about €20,000.

Most of the parts for Stamate’s prototype engine, such as the engine block, the muffler, the cylinder wall, the piston, and the connecting rod, were produced using SLM and SLS 3D printing processes, with steel and aluminum material and metallic bronze and steel powders. The 3D printed two-stroke airplane engine prototype measures in at 10 cubic centimers, with 10,000 rotations per minute (RPM).

[Image: Romania-Insider]

The only engine parts that were not 3D printed were the screws, nut and spark, the supporting bearings, the cone and its fastening system, and the propeller, which you can see is actually made of wood. The engine prototype is fueled using a fix of oil and methanol.

In a translated Mediafax article, Stamate said, “Such an engine if good conditions and if they work in a department of a company where there are all technologies of printing and further processing, perhaps in a few months, a team would be able to bring a new product of its kind.”

Discuss in the 3D Printed Airplane Engine forum at 3DPB.com.

[Sources/Images: Mediafax, Romania-Insider]

 

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