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Continental Sleeve-Valve engines

 
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jaymerich



Joined: 11 Dec 2009
Posts: 20
Location: E28033; Madrid,Spain

PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 14:19    Post subject: Continental Sleeve-Valve engines Reply with quote

When looking in patent databases, one realizes that Continental engines of USA, patented some Sleeve-Valve general aviation engines. I would like knowing if someone has data on the results obtained with these S-V air cooled small aircraft engines, and the reason why no further development of this kind of distribution by Continental is known. From an aircraft engine producer point of view, that kind of engines may have a drawback: as they last longer tan other types, in long term the demand for engines can suffer losses, but it will have also an advantage in driving boughts from worse engines produced by competitors to the S-V producer.
The fate or the cause that there are not such engines in production today, neither for airplanes nor for cars and bykes, would give light on the issues related to industrial production of engines. Salut +


Last edited by jaymerich on Sat Mar 31, 2012 07:36; edited 1 time in total
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kmccutcheon



Joined: 13 Jul 2003
Posts: 194
Location: Huntsville, Alabama USA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 05:43    Post subject: Reply with quote

On May 19, 1926 Continental Motors announced acquisition of world rights to the Burt-McCollum single-sleeve valve. By 1933 Continental held 175 US sleeve-valve patents with another 325 applications pending.

Engines developed to the point of production, but never produced, included: 6 and 8-cyl inline water-cooled automobile engines; 6, 7, and 14-cyl air-cooled radial aircraft engines (the 6-cyl was a two-stroke); a 10-cyl two-stroke water-cooled radial submarine diesel engine; a 5-cyl two-stroke radial water-cooled electric generator engine.

While successful developments, none of these engines offered any real advantage over poppet valve competitors. All were very expensive projects, for the most part internally funded by Continental, and nearly broke the company. Continental began selling its British, French and German sleeve-valve patents in 1937.

Most of this is paraphrased from Carl Bachle’s (one of Continental’s key sleeve-valve developers) account in William Wagner’s book “Continental! Its Motors and Its People, Aero Publishers Inc, 1983.
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Kimble D. McCutcheon
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jaymerich



Joined: 11 Dec 2009
Posts: 20
Location: E28033; Madrid,Spain

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2011 01:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your information Kimble. It was surprising to me, as my idea was that Bristol and Napier Sleeve-Valve engines were the top of aviation reciprocating engines, in terms of performance, reliability and fuel economy, being displaced only by turbines. Are there any major differences between the british and the Continental SV engines that can explain the different fate ?. Are you aware of some publication or site where more info on Continental SV engines can be obtained ?. Maybe somebody connected to Continental would like writing a detailed story of their SV engines. Salud +

Last edited by jaymerich on Sun May 15, 2011 04:02; edited 1 time in total
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kmccutcheon



Joined: 13 Jul 2003
Posts: 194
Location: Huntsville, Alabama USA

PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 05:06    Post subject: Reply with quote

jaymerich wrote:
Are there any major differences between the British and the Continental SV engines that can explain the different fate?.

Continental lacked the benefit of the enormous development effort that Bristol undertook under the leadership of Roy Fedden.
jaymerich wrote:
Are you aware of some publication or site where more info on Continental SV engines can be obtained ?. Maybe somebody connected to Continental would like writing a detailed story of their SV engines.

Only the previously-mentioned book. From what I have been able to learn, I suspect all data associated with that period of Continental history has been lost. Even if Continental employees wanted to write about the SV engines, they would probably have little to go on.
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jaymerich



Joined: 11 Dec 2009
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Location: E28033; Madrid,Spain

PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 07:09    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Kimble !: I read with interest the sections of the book on Continental engines and its people dealing with the subject of Single Sleeve Valve ( SSV ) engines. To my surprise, the author points that SSV engines were easy to produce, and that the cost of production was lower than for a poppet valve engine ( Pag 33 ). He tells that a poppet valve engine was able to meet the performance of the SSV engine in just 4 months, by adding Sodium cooled poppet valves and other changes, probably expensive. It seems that an oil consumption problem persisted, but Mike Hewland claims having solved this. A profile publication on the Argyll single sleeve valve engined cars claims an oil use of one gallon every thousand miles, it sounds as too much, but , what is the oil thirst of today's Wankel rotary engines, some consider fully acceptable ?. After reading the book, and being aware of the very extensive research and prototype building in the field of SSV engines conducted by Continental, one has the feeling that the ill fate of this SSV engines line was just another consequence of the 1929 recession. The book informs that GM conducted also some research on SSV engines, and that they too finally discarded them. Is there somebody that can provide a reference for the GM work on SSV engines ? It's hard to imagine a comeback of SSV engines today, as aviation is dominated by turbines, Wankel engines are making a powerful entry in the general aviation field, and the line in automobile engines is moving towards variable valve timing and electronic control, but it's nice dreaming in an engine with low wear, high output, able to use low cost fuel in an economical way, and little maintenance needs, also well adapted to air cooling, air cooling being a very convenient approach for engines having to work under extreme weather conditions, and all this are features of SSV engines. Thanks, salut +

Last edited by jaymerich on Sat Mar 31, 2012 07:38; edited 3 times in total
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kmccutcheon



Joined: 13 Jul 2003
Posts: 194
Location: Huntsville, Alabama USA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 06:24    Post subject: Reply with quote

jaymerich wrote:
Hi Kimble !: I read with interest the sections of the book on Continental engines and its people dealing with the subject of Single Sleeve Valve ( SSV ) engines. To my surprise, the author points that SSV engines were easy to produce, and that the cost of production was lower than for a poppet valve engine. He tells that a poppet valve engine was able to meet the performance of the SSV engine in just 4 months, by adding Sodium cooled poppet valves and other changes, probably expensive. It seems that an oil consumption problem persisted, but Mike Hewland claims having solved this. After reading the book, and being aware of the very extensive research and prototype building in the field of SSV engines conducted by Continental, one has the feeling that the ill fate of this SSV engines line was just another consequence of the 1929 recession.


William Wagner's book may have given the impression that sleeve valves were easier to do than they actually were; Bristol and Napier surely had their problems with them. The recession also played a role in preventing their commercial success. However, Continental had sleeve-valve development contracts with both US Army and Navy at a time when both branches of the service were searching for a technology that would give the US a demonstrable edge in aircraft engines. If the sleeve valve had been this, I believe the US Government would have paid for its continued development.

jaymerich wrote:
The book informs that GM conducted also some research on SSV engines, and that they too finally discarded them. Is there somebody that can provide a reference for the GM work on SSV engines ?


I have never seen mention of GM's work on sleeve valves except in Wagner's book. GM did secure five patents (1,783,722, 1,823,431, 1,853,433, 2,362,700, 2,409,761) from 1930 through 1946.

jaymerich wrote:
It's hard to imagine a comeback of SSV engines today, as aviation is dominated by turbines, Wankel engines are making a powerful entry in the general aviation field, and the line in automobile engines is moving towards variable valve timing and electronic control, but it's nice dreaming in an engine with low wear, high output, ability to use low cost fuel in an economical way, and little maintenance needs, also well adapted to air cooling, that is a very convenient approach for engines having to work under extreme weather conditions, all this being features of SSV engines.


I have come to hold the opinion that the sleeve valve does not provide enough advantage over conventional approaches to make it economically feasible. There is also a some question as to whether it provides ANY advantage (see Bob Raymond's article comparing the two)
http://www.enginehistory.org/members/articles/Sleeve.pdf
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jwells



Joined: 16 Sep 2003
Posts: 55
Location: Victoria, AUSTRALIA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 03:41    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jaymerich,

A. L. Niven was the Scottish engineer who was employed by Continental to design and develop SSV engines.

During his time with Continental, he filed about 75 patents concerning SSV engines. If you Google ARCHIE MACPHAIL NIVEN, many references to his patents will come up. The Espacenet patent site will list the US patent numbers and you can look at them on the uspto.gov website. Most concern road vehicle engines but US 1,937,123 if for a radial aero-engine.

Good hunting!
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jaymerich



Joined: 11 Dec 2009
Posts: 20
Location: E28033; Madrid,Spain

PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 07:51    Post subject: To J Wells on Single-Sleeve-Valve engines Reply with quote

Hi !: thank you for your suggestion. I did make a fishing in the ESPACENET patent database, and found many of them related to SSV engines, at least I had a lot of fun doing it. I put in the Wikipedia article Sleeve Valve a summary of the data I gathered since I begun interested in SSVs. My interest in this started after reading the interview with Mike Hewland on the subject in the July 1974 issue of Car & Driver. My feeling is that this arrangement for engines was not discarded in the USA because of futility, several of the last aircraft engine prototypes around the end of WWII used SSVs, but because piston engines being made obsolete for big aircraft with the arrival of turbines. This kind of distribution may be also well adapted to Atkinson cycle engines, having a high geometrical compression ratio but a lesser effective one, because of late closing of intake valves and the related blow-back of air-fuel mixture to the admission manifold, Atkinson cycle being used as a fuel economical engine in hybrid vehicles. Anyway, I still like SSV engines. Salut +
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jaymerich



Joined: 11 Dec 2009
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Location: E28033; Madrid,Spain

PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 19:51    Post subject: Non-British Sleeve-Valve engines Reply with quote

The very good article by K McCutcheon on Liquid-Cooled Pratt & Whitney engines gives more than ample information about the way Sleeves were produced in the US, and with a mix of the sleeve-valve engines chapter in several editions of the books by Harry Ricardo on the High Speed Internal Combustion Engine, you'll get the data about the materials used in the GB's S-V engines, a summary for hobbyists is in the Wikipedia Sleeve-Valve engine article talk. No information is available, or at least I've been unable to find it, about the way the french automakers and also airplane engine producers that used the Knight double sleeve-valve in their engines had for machining and producing the sleeves, but there's a recent replica of a Voisin race car with a Knight double sleeve valve system engine, the car having the name "Laboratoire", the replica was built by a french side-car racer, Philippe Moch, he must have some data about this.
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