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Old March 16th, 2006, 06:10 AM   #1
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Default 6 stroke engine

Inside Bruce Crower’s Six-Stroke Engine
By PETE LYONS

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Bruce Crower has lived, breathed and built hot engines his whole life. Now he’s working on a cool one—one that harnesses normally-wasted heat energy by creating steam inside the combustion chamber, and using it to boost the engine’s power output and also to control its temperature.

“I’ve been trying to think how to capture radiator losses for over 30 years,” explains the veteran camshaft grinder and race engine builder. “One morning about 18 months ago I woke up, like from a dream, and I knew immediately that I had the answer.”

Hurrying to his comprehensively-equipped home workshop in the rural hills outside San Diego, he began drawing and machining parts, and installing them in a highly modified, single-cylinder industrial powerplant, a 12-hp diesel he converted to use gasoline. He bolted that to a test frame, poured equal amounts of fuel and water into twin tanks, and pulled the starter-rope.

“My first reaction was, ‘Gulp! It runs!’” the 75-year-old inventor remembers. “And then this ‘snow’ started falling on me. I thought, ‘What hath God wrought…’”

The “snow” was flakes of white paint blasted from the ceiling by the powerful pulses of exhaust gas and steam emitted from the open exhaust stack, which pointed straight up.

Over the following year Crower undertook a methodical development program, in particular trying out numerous variations in camshaft profiles and timing as he narrowed the operating parameters of his patented six-stroke cycle.

Recently he’s been trying variations of the double-lobe exhaust cams to delay and even eliminate the opening of the exhaust valve after the first power stroke, to “recompress” the combustion gasses and thus increase the force of the steam-stroke.

The engine has yet to operate against a load on a dyno, but his testing to date encourages Crower to expect that once he gets hard numbers, the engine will show normal levels of power on substantially less fuel, and without overheating.

“It’ll run for an hour and you can literally put your hand on it. It’s warm, yeah, but it’s not scorching hot. Any conventional engine running without a water jacket or fins, you couldn’t do that.”

Indeed, the test unit has no external cooling system—no water jacket, no water pump, no radiator; nothing. It does retain fins because it came with them, but Crower indicates the engine would be more efficient if he took the trouble to grind them off. He has discarded the original cooling fan.

So far he has used only gasoline, but Bruce believes a diesel-fueled test engine he is now constructing—with a hand-made billet head incorporating the one-third-speed camshaft—will realize the true potential of his concept.
Potential…and Questions
Crower invites us to imagine a car or truck (he speaks of a Bonneville streamliner, too) free of a radiator and its associated air ducting, fan, plumbing, coolant weight, etc.

“Especially an 18-wheeler, they’ve got that massive radiator that weighs 800, 1000 pounds. Not necessary,” he asserts. “In those big trucks, they look at payload as their bread and butter. If you get 1000 lb. or more off the truck…”

Offsetting that, of course, would be the need to carry large quantities of water, and water is heavier than gasoline or diesel oil. Preliminary estimates suggest a Crower cycle engine will use roughly as many gallons of water as fuel.

And Crower feels the water should be distilled, to prevent deposits inside the system, so a supply infrastructure will have to be created. (He uses rainwater in his testing.) Keeping the water from freezing will be another challenge.

But the inventor sees overriding benefits. “Can you imagine how much fuel goes into radiator losses every day in America? A good spark-ignition engine is about 24 percent efficient; ie., about 24 cents of your gasoline dollar ends up in power. The rest goes out in heat loss through the exhaust or radiator, and in driving the water pump and the fan and other friction losses.

“A good diesel is about 30 percent efficient, a good turbo diesel about 33 percent. But you still have radiators and heavy components, and fan losses are extremely high on a big diesel truck.”

Bottom-line, Bruce estimates his new operating cycle could improve a typical engine’s fuel consumption by 40 percent. He also anticipates that exhaust emissions may be greatly reduced. It’s all thanks to the steam.

“A lot of people don’t know that water expands 1600 times when it goes from liquid into steam. Sixteen hundred! This is why steam power is so good. But it’s dangerous…”

The danger of a boiler explosion has long been a factor in engineering—and in operating—steam powerplants of all kinds, and Crower is properly wary of the miniature boiler he has conjured up inside his test engine. That’s one reason he chose to use one originally manufactured as a diesel, for its inherent strength, though he installed a carburetor and ignition system so it could burn gasoline at first.

The original diesel fuel injector system now supplies the water spray to generate the steam-stroke.

In addition to producing extra power, the injected water cools the piston and exhaust valve, which suggests to Crower that he could raise the compression ratio. “I’ve done this many times on regular engines: 15-to-1 on gasoline for the first five seconds works pretty good until you get some chamber heat and then suddenly it gets into pinging. But with the chamber being chilled, I bet 12-, 13-to-1 will be no problem on cheap fuel.

“So what we can maybe do is have fuels that aren’t quite as good…It’ll save a nickel a gallon not having to keep three grades going.”

As for his hope of lowering emissions, Bruce speculates the steam might purge “cling-on hydrocarbons” out of the combustion chamber. “This thing may turn out to be so clean that you won’t have to have a catalytic converter.

But he admits that’s unknown, saying “there’s a lot of experimenting still to be done.” Which prospect makes him smile. He thrives on this kind of challenge.
Bruce’s Background
“You’ve kinda got to be in the cam business and know the dynamics of engines,” Bruce Crower says about how the idea occurred to him. And he certainly has that background.

He was building and racing hot rods (and hot bikes), manufacturing speed equipment and operating his own speed shop in his home town of Phoenix when he was still a teen.

After moving to San Diego in the 1950s, among other exploits he dropped a Hemi into a Hudson and drove it to a 157-mph speed record at Bonneville.

Inevitably, the inventive and inexhaustible Crower built up a major equipment business in superchargers, intake manifolds, clutches and, especially, camshafts. He’s also credited with first suggesting a rear wing to Don Garlits—in 1963, three years before Jim Hall’s winged Chaparral. Bruce Crower is now in Florida’s Drag Racing Hall of Fame.

Crower actually had introduced a wing two years earlier, during practice on Jim Rathmann's 1961 Indianapolis car—five years before Jim Hall’s winged Chaparral. Bruce had been crewing at the Speedway since 1954 (Jimmy Bryan, second place), and had been part of Rathmann's 1960 victory effort. He was likewise on the winning teams in 1966 (Graham Hill) and 1967 (AJ Foyt). Three decades later, in 1998, Eddie Cheever won with Crower cams.

Bruce even produced his own complete Indy engine, a flat-8 that didn’t quite make the field in 1977 and then was rendered obsolete (due to its width) by the advent of ground-effect tunnels. But the Crower 8 and its automatic clutch did win an SAE award for innovation.

Today, Crower Cams and Equipment Company employs about 160 people in five facilities, and manufactures not only cams but crankshafts and connecting rods—including titanium rods for (unnamed) Formula One customers.

Bruce Crower can’t be called retired now, but he’s happy to let the company he founded “roll along” while he “plays with cars.” That’s how he looks at the intensive R&D work he carries out in the privacy of his 13-acre horse property near the rural community of Jamul.

One of several projects is building up Honda S2000 engines for the Midget raced by his granddaughter, Ashley Swanson. (“I think she’s on par with Danica Patrick,” says the proud grampa.)

But his prime focus is proving his six-stroke engine is as revolutionary as he believes it is. “I’ve been trying to find something wrong with the whole basic idea for almost a year,” he says, “but I think we’re going to have a very marketable item.”

Then he adds philosophically, “If it turns out to be great, fine. If it doesn’t, it’s just another year out of my life that I’ve had a lot of fun doing something.”



http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dl...THISWEEKSISSUE
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Old March 16th, 2006, 07:23 AM   #2
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Yea but where the hell you gona get all that water from?
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Old March 16th, 2006, 07:31 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deke
Yea but where the hell you gona get all that water from?
I'm thinking you live where it rains....wouldn't gutters on your car make sence? it could route the rain water to a sistern in the car. maybe a tube frame that contained the water down low so it didn't effect the center of gravity?
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Old March 16th, 2006, 08:55 AM   #4
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Interesting idea . Not sure about power on the road . The water you carry more then covers the weight lose it talks off . perhaps more for stationary applications :gman:
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Old March 16th, 2006, 09:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yetti
I'm thinking you live where it rains....wouldn't gutters on your car make sence? it could route the rain water to a sistern in the car. maybe a tube frame that contained the water down low so it didn't effect the center of gravity?
So cars would only work in seattle?

Sucks to be arizona.
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Old March 16th, 2006, 10:38 AM   #6
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hmmm think the shipping industry and those big diesels... have a separate system to get the salt out and your tits
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Old March 16th, 2006, 10:46 AM   #7
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I agree with Gman. You're going to add alot of weight with that type of engine, so moving applications probably wouldn't work out as good. Who knows, it might work, but it still doesn't change the fact that the infrastructure for that type of engine doesn't exist, and that six stroke would have to become pretty common for the infrastructure to change. Remember, the can opener wasn't invented until some 15 odd years after the can was.

The cost of building that engine won't be cheap either, since the four stroke has been around for 100+ years.
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Old March 16th, 2006, 12:14 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jeepfreak81
hmmm think the shipping industry and those big diesels... have a separate system to get the salt out and your tits
Why would your tits be in the water?
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Old March 16th, 2006, 12:21 PM   #9
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I'd go with a Mr. Fusion.
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Old March 16th, 2006, 12:28 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jeepfreak81
hmmm think the shipping industry and those big diesels... have a separate system to get the salt out and your tits
Is the cost of removing the salt from the water in the amounts nessisary saving fuel and operating costs?
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Old March 16th, 2006, 12:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deke
Is the cost of removing the salt from the water in the amounts nessisary saving fuel and operating costs?
I dont know... it would take research... millions of dollars of it... so it probably wouldnt be feasible :tonka:
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Old March 16th, 2006, 01:12 PM   #12
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Would it really be that much heavier? It says it uses 40% less fuel and it uses as much fuel as it does water.

So you would be carrying 40% less fuel and an equivelant amount of water, which it does weigh more, but you would also loose the weight from the cooling system.

So I am picturing a full sized truck that used to have a 40 gallon fuel tank now having 2 - 25 gallon tanks getting almost the same range
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Old March 16th, 2006, 02:48 PM   #13
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i thinks its a cool idea but i am not sure how well it will work or how long the engine will last.
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Old March 16th, 2006, 03:34 PM   #14
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if what I'm reading is right, the weight of the cooling system will be gone, but you need water, more weight. Meaning, that yes, the extra water will weight about the same, BUT it will be used as fuel instead of dead weight. THUS signifigantly increasing mileage because of a signifigantly increased fuel capacity, which also burns more efficiently (or so claimed).

Seeing as the engine utilizes fairly current technology, I don't think it will be that expensive to produce or incorperate when compared with current gasoline or diesel engines. But the research that will take place that will further increase the performance and economy of the engine will probably be a pretty penny.

Distilled water is pretty cheap actually, something like $0.75 a gallon if I remember right (I'm usually not the one buying it). If it's distilled on a large enough scale it would be cheaper, it's not being drank so the storage areas don't have to be spic and span and the water can simply pass through a filter before being injected into the engine.

As for where the water comes from, water is a hell of alot more abundant than crude, and reuseable. If the technology and resources are developed to handle the increased demand for purified water, we shouldn't have a problem.

I'm rather looking forward to hearing more about the engine, I think it shows signifigant promise. Good article Yetti!
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Old March 16th, 2006, 03:35 PM   #15
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G-monkey, this is using 4-stroke technology, just with a modified camshaft and an extra injector.

I think RPM would remain a challenge with that engine. I'd have to look into it but I dont think water would turn to steam and expand as fast as a flamefront would expand in a combustion event.

Your right large marine, and stationary applications would be an ideal outlet for that engine although I think more development work is needed to look into emmissions. you might end up with a situation where acids are formed with the extra water in the exhaust system.

Large stationary diesels which are burning fuel-oil sludgy crap can reach almost 50 percent efficiency if i'm not mistaken. this technology could push them even higher, and in an industry where an engine burns 300 million in fuel over its life that is huge.

This engine has some obstacles, like water, but in applications where efficiency is key and water is abundent it's not a bad idea. catalysts could be developed to treat water quickly at low cost (distill it, desalinify etc)

Another issue would be rusting of components but thats nothign that alittle applications work wouldnt solve by whoever makes the engine, and rings etc......
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Old March 16th, 2006, 03:43 PM   #16
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For that matter, I wonder if it's possible for a diesel engine to be converted to run on just water. If diesels work on the heat of compression, if you got it up high enough and injected a bit of water into it it should just turn to steam. Though I'm pretty sure that when the PSI goes up so does the boiling temp.. I wonder if this will actually work...
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Old March 16th, 2006, 03:47 PM   #17
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since the artical doesn't imply any info as to HOW Crower has done this, its easy to assume what he did. something tells me its not as simple as we all think, why does it have 6 strokes per cycle? how does it intake water through a carb? or injected? its got so many variables it makes me wonder how he did it.
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Old March 16th, 2006, 04:03 PM   #18
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It has 6 strokes because it goes through a normal 4 stroke cycle. during which it runs on the carbuerator. Then, after exhaust when the piston is at TDC he added another 360 degree revolution of the crank.

Both valves close, he injects water through the diesel injector into the nice, warm cylinder (it just had an explosion in there remember ?) the water turns to steam and forces the piston down. exhaust valve opens and steam escapes as the piston come back up to TDC.

now the intake stroke starts again.



The engine is cooled when the water is turned to steam because the water absorbs all that heat energy and turns it into mechanical energy (expansion).
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Old March 16th, 2006, 04:10 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Ledd
For that matter, I wonder if it's possible for a diesel engine to be converted to run on just water. If diesels work on the heat of compression, if you got it up high enough and injected a bit of water into it it should just turn to steam. Though I'm pretty sure that when the PSI goes up so does the boiling temp.. I wonder if this will actually work...
In theory it would work however only for a short time. when a diesel compresses fuel and burns it it releases all of the energy stored inside the chemical bonds of the fuel oil as it expands. The reaction produces mechanical energy from chemical energy.

In this engine, the water is expanded by capturing the excess heat and mechanical energy from the previous engine cycle that is usually thrown away by the radiator. The water absorbs energy already present and converts it into mechanical energy as it expands. Because of this parasitic effect the reaction wouldnt continue unless there is a heat source present............and they've done that, its called the steam engine :tonka:
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Old March 16th, 2006, 04:15 PM   #20
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I have pondered this . why cant they make a motor out of electro magnetic pulse ? resistence would be minimal , electiric magnets are hell a strong to PULL up a steel topped piston type deal . Think in reverse , dont push from an explosion but pull the the piston up with electormagnetic power .

I doubt it would move semis but perhaps a lot of small engine apps such as a push mower and so on

Somthing on a rotating mass more like a rotory motor rather then a V8 assembly . This set up would last for ever and a day , no gas to pour in the mower when its hot . Plug it in until the next mow to recharge it
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