Start Your Engines
The Picker Engineering Program’s
Mechanics Playground lab received a new addition last week—or,
half of a new addition. That is, half of a Mazda rotary engine
was donated to the Mechanics Playground, a classroom full of educational
engineering-related miscellanea in Ford Hall.
donation was coordinated by Dean Case, communications officer
at Mazdaspeed Motorsports, the high-performance racing vehicles
division of Mazda, the global automobile manufacturing company.
“Students already study the familiar piston-and-cylinder engine to learn about
mass and energy flow, stresses on parts, and thermodynamic cycles,” explained
Susan Froehlich, Picker Program lab supervisor. “The rotary (or ‘Wankel’) engine
accomplishes the same thermodynamic cycle, but in a novel way, in which the air-fuel
mixture is swept in a circular pattern to compress and combust, rather than the
linear motion of a piston.”
An engineering student will
modify the Mazda engine, using machinery in the Center for
Design and Fabrication, in order to display it as a motorized
working demo model, ready for classroom use in the fall,
|The rotary engine consists of
a rotor housing, a rotor and an output shaft.
||The Mazda half-engine allows
students a clear view of its exposed interior components.