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Researchers at Michigan State University recently invented the Wave Disk Generator that is supposed to get 60% fuel efficiency. What allows it to be so much more efficient than a traditional Internal Combustion Engine?

I am aware that there is better mixing of fuel and air, but surely this alone does not produce the extreme efficiency.

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Just from the fact that they are not talking about using it as a direct power system you can bet that it runs well under some constrained set of conditions, but a hybrid arrangement allows it to always run under optimal conditions. That's where most of the gains in a standard reciprocating-internal-combustion--electric hybrid come from, but it seems this will can do better. –  dmckee Apr 10 '11 at 23:35
That makes sense, since they are talking about developing a high-rpm generator to work with it. –  JoeHobbit Apr 10 '11 at 23:50
@dmckee , even when running under optimal conditions a conventional gas engine will not exceed about 20, maybe 25 % . Trueborn Diesel engines achieve about 35 % –  Georg Apr 11 '11 at 10:31
Let me just point out that rotary engines, on which this design appears to be based, have been around for a long time. Muller's et al's great innovation appears to be the addition of the serrated rows in the base of the rotors which compress the air-gas mixture more efficiently. Of course, there are probably other subtle changes that I fail to notice. Point being, Muller's engine is nice but a modification of a previous framework, not an invention per se IMHO –  user346 Apr 11 '11 at 11:56
The better internal combustion engines are better than people think here. The Prius gasoline engine is reported to be 34% efficient. Large marine diesels can do 50%. –  Omega Centauri Apr 11 '11 at 13:35

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

That Prof Müller said it: Shock waves in addition of the usual things.

The picture in Your link is rather different from the thing shown in the video, for the time being, I do not understand really what is the new thing. From thermodynamics it is clear, that they (hope?) to have a higher effective DeltaT, obviously without having higher temperatures at machiney parts (which makes them expensive and/or short-lived)

I assume that those shock waves can be transformed into working pressure without the high temperatures of the combustion shock wave touchng machine parts. I hope we will hear more from Prof Müller in near future.


This link is somewhat more detailed and less press-release-silly. in general it says what I surmised (by application of thermodynamics basics) http://www.zdnet.com/blog/emergingtech/wave-disk-engines-to-make-hybrid-vehicles-cheaper-more-efficient/1887

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I found a link that explains it nicely.

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