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A pistonless rotary engine is an internal combustion engine that does not use pistons in the way a reciprocating engine does, but instead uses one or more rotors, sometimes called rotary pistons. An example of a pistonless rotary engine is the Wankel engine.

The term rotary combustion engine has been suggested[by whom?] as an alternative name for these engines[citation needed] to distinguish them from early (generally up to the early 1920s) aircraft engines and motorcycle engines also known as rotary engines. However, both continue to be called rotary engines and only the context determines which type is meant.

Pistonless rotary engines[edit]

The basic concept of a pistonless rotary engine avoids the reciprocating motion of the piston with its inherent vibration and rotational-speed-related mechanical stress. As of 2006 the Wankel engine is the only successful pistonless rotary engine, but many similar concepts have been proposed and are under various stages of development. Examples of rotary engines include:

Production stage
Development stage
Conceptual stage
  • The Gerotor engine
  • The Rotary Engine by José-Ignacio Martín-Artajo, SI [2]
  • The José María Bosch-Barata engines ( Spanish pats nºs 0228187, 0254176 and 0407242)
  • The Cruz-Antonio López-Contreras engines- Cross Aeronautics, Huelva, Spain [3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "How the Baylin Engine Works." Popular Mechanics, July 1946, pp. 131-132.
  2. ^ "Tri-Dyne: Slick New Rotary Engine Could Lick the Wankel." Popular Science, July 1969, pp. 45-47 & 160-162.

Further reading[edit]

  • Jan P. Norbye: 'Rivals to the Wankel: A Roundup of Rotary Engines', Popular Science, Jan 1967, pp 80-85.


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