View Full Version : Bourke Engine

26th Aug 2005, 11:40
When it's a Bourke:


"The Bourke engine, first demonstrated by inventor Russell Bourke, in 1932, but lost in the politics of wartime manufacturing, optimizes the 90 degree optimal torque angle for converting combustion to movement, improves fuel efficiency over the 4-stroke engine by 300%, while (depending on design) reducing wear, noise, vibration, as well as cutting noxious emissions to nearly zero because of its efficient use of the fuel. Numerous contemporary replications have demonstrated its viability. It is a technology long overdue. Bourke may be to engines what Tesla is to radiant energy -- a scientist who did not realize the actuation of his revolutionary technology in his day, but whose technology may be the salvation of the 21st century energy needs."

"The Bourke one-stroke engine has cooperative pistons which are connected to one rigid connecting rod that shuttles through an oil-filled sealed crankcase. There are only two moving parts in the engine -- the piston connecting rod and the crankshaft. All other parts found in the conventional engine have been discarded."

"It will run on any fuel with a hydro-carbon base, needs no repair, and the oil in it is good for life. ...There's no smell, smoke, noise or vibration when my motor is in operation."

Interesting? Anyone ever dabbled?


tony draper
26th Aug 2005, 11:58
Makes you wonder how many other ground breaking inventions are gathering dust in the Patent Office, perhaps it's like that Wankle Engine, great idea but fraught with unpredicted engineering flaws that make em impractical.

26th Aug 2005, 12:08
Possibly so Drapes... However, this (http://bourke-engine-project.com/4436.html) guy seems to have it sorted?

Quite interesting for GA applications I would have thought? ie Very low Servicing requirements :eek:

26th Aug 2005, 13:14
I love these sorts of things, but I don't think this design really stacks up.

Based entirely on gut feel and first principles I doubt this engine would actually meet these expectations.

1. No need to repair - cannot be true, this engine like every other IC design has surfaces running over each other. There is no such thing as a "wear free" bearing.

2. Oil sealed for life - see point 1. When the bearing wears, where does the bearing go? Secondly oils degrade with heat and absorbing combustion gases that cannot be avoided in the piston bores.

3. You can't get more energy out of a motor than you put in. This means that the motor must be more efficient - wasting less energy - than another to be better. This engine design is vibrating a substantial con-rod between the pistons. This repeated acceleration and deceleration is wasteful of energy, as seen in your average reciprocating engine. The Wankel rotary engine makes a better attempt at removing this sort of "unnecessary" movement.

4. It is vibrationless - see point 3.

But this rebuttal doesn't mean I think the design is worthless but seeing as most of the deficiencies of a reciprocating engine have been "solved" by the rotary design, that would be the target to beat. The cost of that extra efficiency of the rotary design is much higher maintenance costs and oil consumption.

I hope someone can prove me wrong, I'd love my fuel bills to drop, and the fact the exhaust gases from the design are at a lower temperature appears interesting. Also the cooling system seems to be lower too, but temperature isn't the measure thats important, heat energy is. I need to dust my thermodynamics text books to quantify that.

26th Aug 2005, 13:26
Looks interesting, would like to see it in operation

26th Aug 2005, 14:13
Tonkatoy - I agree with your observations re servicing/repair etc

Some test results as provided for by Bourkeengine.com (http://www.bourkeengine.com)


The worldwide usage of two-stroke and four-stroke internal combustion engines does not meet the emissions requirements of most nations, and there is no immediate solution for high emissions causing undesirable levels of "air pollution." Even adding processes such as catalytic converters, the engines still produce excessive amounts of hydrocarbons (HC) relative to national standards. All internal combustion engines contribute to the "air pollution" problems, but this engine contributes substantially less than other internal combustion engine is use.

Russell Bourke's Claim: Exhaust components were carbon dioxide and water vapor.

Bourke Engine Project L.L.C. Documented test results from the Roger Richard prototype engine: The test instrument used was a Hamilton Standard, Auto Sense, Model CUISNY 9000 Exhaust Gas Analyzer. This analyzer can detect 10 ppm of carbon Monoxide (CO) and none was detected. The analyzer detected 80 ppm of (HC). These test results will be further certified as part of phase two of this project.

Exhaust Temperature:

Russell Bourke's Claim: Matches could be held in the exhaust without igniting.

Bourke Engine Project L.L.C. Documented test results from the Roger Richard prototype engine: A digital thermometer probe was inserted directly into the exhaust gases. All readings were 200F with the lowest temperature obtained thus far at 196F. These tests will be further certified as part of phase two of this project.

Multi-Fuel Capable:

Russell Bourke's Claim: The engine will run on any low grade fuel (Diesel, Jet Fuel/Kerosene, Home Heating Oil, Brown Distillate, Ect.)

Bourke Engine Project L.L.C. Documented test results from the Roger Richard prototype engine: Although not all low grades of fuel have been tested, the engine will run on all low grades of fuel that have been tested thus far. The testing of various low grades of fuel will continue with Roger's prototype and will be further certified as part of phase 2 of this project.

You can d/l an avi file showing a cutaway section of the engine from here (though 14mb) (http://bourkeengine.net/images/video2.jpg) if you're interested

26th Aug 2005, 14:29
These kind of inventors reminds me of Dutchy Jan Sloot (http://www.cs.unimaas.nl/p.spronck/Sloot.htm), who apparently discovered a revolutionary coding system that would make hard disks, CD-ROMs, and other data stores superfluous. Unfortunately he died taking the source with him...


26th Aug 2005, 16:07
Kaos, that website (http://www.niquette.com/books/sophmag/bourke.htm) that that animation came from has a fun story to go with it.

My problem with it is there is no mathematics to substantiate the claims. Those calculations need to include power output at the gearbox shaft and fuel and air flowrates in. This will mean a true efficiency figure can be calculated and compare to other designs.

As far as emissions are concerned, chemistry plays it's part, and if you fuel your bourke engine with diesel you will get suphides and other such nasties. Obviously I can't argue with their HC and CO findings without an engine of my own to compare to.

By multi fuel capable, I assume they'd be changing the ignition system appropriately. I don't think a "one size
fits all" ignition system exists.

I googled to find the flash-point of a match head (I got lots of results for soccer violence though), so I can't quantify what statement actually means.

But my real problem with these sites is they've made claims that are pretty wild (such as maintenance free) and once you don't believe one, it makes the rest harder to swallow too.

Pity really, I'd like an RX8 coz I like the engine design, but don't have the shares in Castrol to justify buying all that oil :ugh:

26th Aug 2005, 17:10
Hmmm, shades of Tesla here... no-one believed him either. Humans hate having long held beliefs challenged.

tony draper
26th Aug 2005, 17:38
Can't see any vested interest feeling threatened by this so we can discount conspiracy theory such as Ford buying it up and deliberatly losing it.
So there must be a practical reason why its not under all our bonnets right now?

26th Aug 2005, 23:45
If you look at capt Kaos' picture you will see that each cylinder is a ported two stroke engine which is not exactly the most efficient i.c. engine known. The possibilities for wear at the "big end" is pretty high. Friction on the con rod seals would be significant and it would have to be an eight cylinder motor to balance out all the vibration.

Mike W

27th Aug 2005, 04:48
There's always yet another engine design. For example the Caminez engine (http://www.rexresearch.com/caminez/1caminez.htm) which had no connecting rods. Fairchild bought the company.

My dad did patent work for Fairchild at the time. It was a failure for aircraft use partly due to the gyroscopic effect of the heavy rotating cam which substituted for the crankshaft / con rods. I'd guess that the rollers pushing on the cam produced sideways forces on the pistons that also caused problems.

It was probably fortunate that Sherman Fairchild (http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Aerospace/Fairchild/Aero25.htm) started out extremely rich - inherited a 1/3-rd interest in IBM IIRC.