A Review of Heavy-Fueled Rotary Engine Combustion Technologies

Report No. ARL-TR-5546
Authors: Chol-Bum M. Kweon
Date/Pages: May 2011; 96 pages
Abstract: The rotary engine has been used as one of the powerplants for unmanned aerial vehicles because of its many merits, such as higher power density, light weight, simple design, smooth operation, low vibration, and compact size. However, it also has demerits, such as high fuel consumption and higher maintenance requirements. This report reviews the current status of the heavy-fueled rotary engine combustion technologies and gains insights into the technology gaps that need further research and development to improve its efficiency, performance, and durability.
The major challenges for the rotary engine to use a heavy fuel such as JP-8 include its inherently low compression ratio, high heat loss due to high surface-to-volume ratio, and seal leaks. Up to now, the rotary engines have not been extensively researched and developed, particularly for heavy-fueled rotary engines, compared to the reciprocating engines. Therefore, significant opportunities in all respects exist to improve efficiency, performance, and durability of the rotary engines by using today's advanced technologies.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: May 1, 2011