Orbital engine

Orbital engine
Orbital engine on display in Jakarta

The Sarich orbital engine is a type of internal combustion engine, featuring rotary rather than reciprocating motion of its internal parts. It differs from the conceptually similar Wankel engine by using a shaped rotor that rolls around the interior of the engine, rather than having a trilobular rotor that spins "in place".



The theoretical advantage is that there is no high-speed contact area with the engine walls, unlike in the Wankel where edge wear is a problem. However, the combustion chambers are divided by blades which do have contact with both the walls and the rotor, and are said to have been difficult to seal due to the perpendicular intersection with the moving impeller. The orbital engine was invented in 1972 by Ralph Sarich, an engineer from Perth, Australia, who worked on the concept for years without ever producing a production engine. A prototype was demonstrated, running on the bench with no load. The engine can run on compressed air or steam. The engine does not need oil to run at all[citation needed]. It produces very high revs. It has only one moving part which can be run as a pump.

Technical Problems

The Sarich orbital engine has a number of fundamental unsolved problems that have kept it from becoming a practical engine. Some key components cannot be cooled and others cannot readily be lubricated.[1] It is very susceptible to overheating. At one press conference where Ralph Sarich presented the engine, automotive engineer Phil Irving (designer of the Vincent Motorcycle and Brabham Formula One engines) pointed out a number of technical difficulties.

See also


  1. ^ Fuel saving follies at ABC Radio National Ockham's Razor, 30 August 2009

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • orbital engine — noun An axial two stroke engine with curved pistons in a circular cylinder block which rotates around a fixed shaft • • • Main Entry: ↑orbit …   Useful english dictionary

  • orbital engine — /ɔbətl ˈɛndʒən/ (say awbuhtl enjuhn) noun a non reciprocating engine in which a vaned piston does not rotate but moves eccentrically orbiting the combustion chamber. {trademark} …   Australian English dictionary

  • Sarich orbital engine — noun an improved rotary motor smaller and lighter than the normal piston engine, with the same power output. {invented by Ralph Sarich} …   Australian English dictionary

  • Orbital Corporation — Limited (ASX: OEC, OTCBB: OBTLY), formerly Orbital Engine Corporation Limited pioneered by Ralph Sarich, is an Australian company based at Balcatta, Western Australia, that aims to provide clean engine technologies and alternative fuel… …   Wikipedia

  • Orbital Corporation Limited — (Asx|OEC, OTCBB|OBTLY) is an Australian company that invented and developed a technology that it claims to reduce air pollution from internal combustion engines and improve fuel efficiency. Formerly known as Orbital Engine Corporation Limited,… …   Wikipedia

  • Orbital — may refer to: In chemistry and physics: Atomic orbital Molecular orbital In astronomy and space flight: Orbit Orbital resonance Orbital period Orbital plane (astronomy) Orbital elements Orbital speed Orbital maneuver Orbital spaceflight In… …   Wikipedia

  • Orbital mechanics — A satellite orbiting the earth has a tangential velocity and an inward acceleration. Orbital mechanics or astrodynamics is the application of ballistics and celestial mechanics to the practical problems concerning the motion of rockets and other… …   Wikipedia

  • Orbital Sciences X-34 — X 34 The X 34 on the tarmac Function Unmanned Re usable Spaceplane Manufacturer Orbital Sciences Corporation Country of origin United States …   Wikipedia

  • Orbital airship — Space blimp redirects here. For airships used in a role similar to satellites, see stratospheric airship. The orbital airship, also called the space blimp, is a proposed space transportation system that carries payloads to and from low Earth… …   Wikipedia

  • Orbital Sciences X-34 — X 34 Hauteur 17.8 [1] Diamètre N/A Poids au décollage 8200 …   Wikipédia en Français