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Title:
SEAL ARRANGEMENT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2007/083255
Kind Code:
A3
Abstract:
The invention relates to a sealing arrangement for an internal combustion engine (11) which includes a reciprocating member (30) which is arranged for reciprocal motion in a complementary cylinder (24, 26) having parallel and opposed side walls (18, 20) and an arcuate end wall (14, 16) extending transversely between them, the reciprocating member (30) having opposite side edges, with an end edge which extends transversely between them. The sealing arrangement includes elongated side and end sealing elements (102, 202) extending respectively along each of the side and end edges of the reciprocating member (30) and respective urging means (106) in engagement with the sealing elements (102, 202) to urge the sealing elements (102, 202) away from the respective reciprocating member edges and into contact with the respective cylinder walls (14, 16, 18, 20), to bridge the clearance gaps and seal off a combustion chamber (34.1, 34.2, 36.1, 36.2) which is defined by the cylinder (24, 26) and the reciprocating member (30).

Inventors:
VON STADE, Christiaan, Philippus (430 Centre Street, Pretoria Gardens, 0082 Pretoria, ZA)
Application Number:
IB2007/050096
Publication Date:
July 26, 2007
Filing Date:
January 12, 2007
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
VON STADE, Christiaan, Philippus (430 Centre Street, Pretoria Gardens, 0082 Pretoria, ZA)
International Classes:
F01C9/00; F02B53/00; F02B75/32
Foreign References:
US4599976A1986-07-15
GB534635A1941-03-12
US3299867A1967-01-24
GB2030652A1980-04-10
US3682050A1972-08-08
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MACKENZIE, Colin et al. (Adams & Adams, Adams & Adams Place1140 Prospect Street,P.O. Box 101, Hatfield 0001 Pretoria, ZA)
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Claims:

CLAIMS

1. An internal combustion engine which includes a reciprocating member which is arranged for reciprocal motion in a complementary cylinder having parallel and opposed side walls and an arcuate end wall extending transversely between them, the reciprocating member having opposite side edges, with an end edge which extends transversely between them, the side and end edges of the reciprocating member being spaced with respective clearance gaps from the side walls and the end wall of the cylinder, to permit sliding movement of the edges relative to the respective walls upon displacement of the reciprocating member in use, and a sealing arrangement which includes: elongated side and end sealing elements extending respectively along each of the side and end edges of the reciprocating member; and respective urging means in engagement with the sealing elements to urge the sealing elements away from the respective reciprocating member edges and into contact with the respective cylinder walls, to bridge the clearance gaps and seal off a combustion chamber which is defined by the cylinder and the reciprocating member.

2. An engine as claimed in claim 1 , in which part of each sealing element is positioned in a complementary groove defined in the associated edge of the reciprocating member.

3. An engine as claimed in claim 2, in which each sealing element has a T-shaped cross-sectional profile, a base or stem portion of the sealing element being located within the groove and a head portion of the sealing element projecting outwardly and laterally from the groove.

4. An engine claimed in any one of the preceding claims, in which the urging means is in the form of a plurality of longitudinally spaced helical compression springs which are arranged to act between the sealing elements and the reciprocating member to urge the sealing elements in a direction away from the reciprocating member.

5. An engine as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, in which ends of the sealing elements define interconnecting formations which interconnect the ends of the end sealing element with adjacent ends of the side sealing elements.

6. An engine as claimed in claim 5, in which the interconnecting formations are in the form of sliding dovetail-type formations.

7. An engine as claimed in claim 6, in which the reciprocating member is a vane having a pair of opposite major faces connected by the side and end edge faces.

8. An engine as claimed in any preceding claim, in which the sealing elements are of cast iron.

9. An engine as claimed in any one of the preceding claims which includes: a hub from which the reciprocating member protrudes; and an engine block within which the hub is mounted, the sealing arrangement including an annular groove or recess in one of the hub and the engine block and an annular seal element positioned in the recess and sealingly engaging the other of the engine block and the hub.

10. An engine as claimed in claim 9, in which the other of the engine block and the hub defines an annular recess into which the annular seal extends.

11. An engine as claimed in claim 10, in which the annular seal seals against a radial surface of the annular recess in the other of the engine block and the hub.

12. An engine as claimed in claim 11 , in which the annular seal is housed, in use, in an intermediate annular mounting member which is receivable in the annular groove.

Description:

SEAL ARRANGEMENT

THIS INVENTION relates to a seal arrangement, and particularly to a seal arrangement for an internal combustion engine, and to a method of sealing.

According to a first aspect of the invention, there is provided an internal combustion engine which includes a reciprocating member which is arranged for reciprocal motion in a complementary cylinder having parallel and opposed side walls and an arcuate end wall extending transversely between them, the reciprocating member having opposite side edges, with an end edge which extends transversely between them, the side and end edges of the reciprocating member being spaced with respective clearance gaps from the side walls and the end wall of the cylinder, to permit sliding movement of the edges relative to the respective walls upon displacement of the reciprocating member in use, and a sealing arrangement which includes: elongated side and end sealing elements extending respectively along each of the side and end edges of the reciprocating member; and respective urging means in engagement with the sealing elements to urge the sealing elements away from the respective reciprocating member edges and into contact with the respective cylinder walls, to bridge the clearance gaps and seal off a combustion chamber which is defined by the cylinder and the reciprocating member.

Part of each sealing element may be positioned in a complementary groove defined in the associated edge of the reciprocating member. Each sealing element may have a T-shaped cross-sectional profile, a base or stem portion of the sealing element being located within the groove and a head portion of the sealing element projecting outwardly and laterally from the groove.

The urging means may be in the form of a plurality of longitudinally spaced helical compression springs which are arranged to act between the sealing elements and the reciprocating member in a direction away from the reciprocating member. In such a case, each groove may include a plurality of longitudinally spaced bores which extend into the vane transversely to that edge, to accommodate the helical springs. In another embodiment, the bias means may be in the form of an elongated leaf spring positioned in each groove between the vane and the respective sealing element.

Ends of the sealing elements may define interconnecting formations which interconnect the ends of the end sealing element with adjacent ends of the side sealing elements. The interconnecting formations may be in the form of sliding dovetail-type formations.

The reciprocating member may have a small thickness dimension relative to its length and width dimensions, so that the reciprocating member may be in the form of a vane or plate. It will be appreciated that the thickness dimension extends circumferentially relative to the vane, the width dimension extending axially and the length dimension extending radially. In such case, the vane may have a pair of opposite major faces connected by the side and end edge faces.

The sealing elements may be of metal, preferably being of cast iron.

An engine as claimed in any one of the preceding claims which includes: a hub from which the reciprocating member protrudes; and an engine block within which the hub is mounted, the sealing arrangement including an annular groove or recess in one of the hub and the engine block and an annular seal element positioned in the recess and sealingly engaging the other of the engine block and the hub.

The other of the engine block and the hub may define an annular recess into which the annular seal extends. The annular seal seals against a radial surface of the annular recess in the other of the engine block and the hub. The annular seal may be housed, in use, in an intermediate annular mounting member which is receivable in the annular groove.

The invention will now be further described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying diagrammatic drawings.

In the drawings:

Figure 1 shows a three-dimensional partially exploded view of an engine assembly, in accordance with the invention;

Figure 2 shows an axial section along plane M-Il of the engine of Figure 1 ;

Figure 3 shows a partially exploded view of a conversion mechanism forming part of the engine assembly of Figure 1 , in accordance with the invention;

Figure 4 shows a further exploded view of a part of the conversion mechanism of Figure 3;

Figures 5 to 7 show respective top plan views of the engine of Figure 1 , with a reciprocating piston forming part of the engine assembly, being shown in various positions during a single phase in its operation;

Figure 8 shows a partial view of a seal arrangement of the engine assembly of Figure 1 ; and

Figures 9 and 10 correspond to Figures 1 and 2 respectively but show alternative embodiments of a sealing arrangement, in accordance with the invention.

Referring to Figure 1 , reference numeral 10 generally indicates an engine assembly in accordance with the invention. The engine assembly 10 includes an internal combustion engine 11 which includes an engine block 12 which is generally right-angle parallelepiped shaped, being rectangular in top plan view. The engine block 12 is of aluminium and is therefore

lightweight. The engine block 12 in this example is modular, having a pair of opposed end walls 14, 16, a pair of opposed side walls 18, 20, and opposed top and bottom walls 22, 23 (the bottom wall 23 is shown in Figure 2). In another embodiment (not shown), one or more of the walls 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23 may be integral with one another. Of course, at least one of the walls is preferably removable, engine-top or cylinder head fashion, to permit initial assembly and servicing of the internal mechanisms of the engine, as described in more detail below.

The engine block 12 defines two compartments or cylinders 24,

26, and a central cylindrical cavity 28. The cylinders 24, 26 are diametrically opposed about the cylindrical cavity 28. Each cylinder 24, 26 is arcuate or generally sector-shaped in top plan view, and is rectangular in side elevation. Each cylinder 24, 26 thus has a constant height, while it increases in cross- sectional width radially outwardly from the cylindrical cavity 28 towards the end walls 14, 16. The walls 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23 define around their periphery a series of threaded bores 25 for receiving attachment means, such as screws, bolts and/or nuts (not shown) to fasten the walls 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23 to one another.

An output member, or reciprocating member, generally indicated by reference numeral 30, comprises a right-circular cylindrical hub 32 and pistons in the form of two co-planar, diametrically opposed, radially outwardly projecting vanes 34, 36. The vanes 34, 36 are relatively thin in relation to their length and height, and are thus plate-like. The vanes 34, 36 act as pistons within the cylinders 24, 26 of the engine 11 , being arranged for displacement in the cylinders 24, 26 in response to the combustion of fuel in the respective cylinders 24, 26.

The cylindrical cavity 28 is complementary to the hub 32 and is thus shaped and dimensioned to receive the hub 32 snugly with a peripheral working clearance, such that the hub 32 is held captive in the cylindrical cavity 28 but is pivotally or angularly displaceable about a prime pivot axis 30.1 which is co-axial with the polar axis of the cylindrical cavity 28. The vanes 34,

36 are rectangular when seen in axial section (see Figure 2), each vane 34, 36 being in sliding contact with the top wall 22, the bottom wall 23, and one of the end walls 24, 26. The hub 32 is made from two substantially identical halves. The ratio of the diameter of the hub 32 to the radial length of each vane 34, 36 is about 1.7:1.

An annular boss 33 projects co-axially from each axial end face of the hub 32, the boss 33 being formed by two halves provided by the respective halves of the hub 32, each boss 33 standing proud of the hub 32 and being receivable in a matched mounting aperture 38 in the top wall 22 and the bottom wall 23 respectively. The output member 30 is thus mounted in the engine assembly 10 such that it is pivotable about pivot axis 30.1. An arcuate displacement of the cylinders 24, 26, measured as an angle with the pivot axis 30.1 being the vertex, is 32°. In other words, each cylinder 24, 26 can be described by movement of the respective vane 34, 36 through 32° about the pivot axis 30.1.

An output shaft 40 (only partially shown in Figure 1 ) is disposed perpendicularly to the pivot axis 30.1 , so that the shaft 40 intersects the pivot axis 30.1 at right angles, the output shaft 40 passing through the hollow hub

32 (further described below). The output shaft 40 is journalled in end bearings (not shown) housed in the respective side walls 18, 20 such that the output shaft 40 is rotatable relative to the engine block 12 about an output axis 40.1.

The engine block 12 defines a set of intake valves 42 and exhaust valves 44 on either side of each cylinder 24, 26. The intake and exhaust valves 42, 44 cooperate with associated intake ports 46, 48 and outlet ports (not shown) defined by the respective side walls 18, 20. As can best be seen in Figure 1 of the drawings, each set of intake ports 46, 48 and exhaust ports is provided in a radially oriented side face of the respective cylinder 24, 26. Each cylinder 24, 26 therefore has a set of intake and exhaust valves 42, 44 on either side of the vane 34, 36, thereby effectively providing two combustion chambers, one on either side of each vane 34, 36 (further described below). The intake ports 46, 48 are in fluid flow

communication with a fuel mixture supply arrangement (not shown), such as a fuel injection system, and pass though an upper face of the engine block 12. The outlet ports are connected to an exhaust manifold (not shown) and open out of the opposite, lower face of the engine block 12. In this example, the engine 11 is a spark ignition engine and includes four spark plugs (not shown), one for each combustion chamber. Two spark plugs extend through each end wall 14, 16 respectively to a corner of each combustion chamber.

Two worm gears 50 are keyed to the output shaft 40, one on either side of the engine block 12. Each worm gear 50 meshes with two diametrically opposed gears 52 which are keyed to respective cam shafts 54.

The cam shafts 54 are rotatably mounted between two operatively upright cam blocks 56 which are mounted to each side of the engine block 12. A cam

58 is fast with each end of the cam shaft 54 axially inwardly of the cam block 56. The cams 58 (of which there are eight in total, one for each valve 42, 44) drive rocker arms 59 (only one of which is shown) which extend through matched grooves in the cam block 56 and which actuate the valves 42, 44.

The cams 58 on the upper cam shafts 54 actuate the intake valves 42 and the cams 58 on the lower cam shafts 54 actuate the exhaust valves 44. The cams 58 at opposed ends of the same cam shaft 54 are not aligned, thereby giving the intake valves 42 at opposite ends of each side of the engine 11 different timing.

Edge faces (i.e. the top, bottom, and end edge faces) of the vanes 34, 36 each define therein an elongated groove 100 extending along that edge to accommodate a seal 102. Each seal 102 is elongated and of cast iron having a T-shaped cross-sectional profile. In an alternative embodiment (not shown), the seal 102 could be a strip having a rectangular cross sectional profile. Each groove 100 has a plurality of longitudinally spaced blind bores 104 which extend normally to the respective edge, to accommodate helical compression springs 106 for urging the seals 102 away from the vane 34, 36 and into contact with the associated wall 14, 16, 22, 23 of the engine block 12. In other embodiments (not shown) each seal 102 is biased by means of a single elongated leaf spring.

Axially outer end faces of the hub 32 each define therein a circumferentially extending annular groove or recess 108 to accommodate an annular seal 109. The grooves 108 define therein a plurality circumferentially spaced axially extending blind bores 104 to accommodate helical compression springs 106 for urging the seals 109 away from the hub 32 into contact with the top wall 22 and the bottom wall 23 respectively.

An alternative embodiment of the seal arrangements is shown in Figures 9 and 10. The elongated grooves 100 along the edge faces of the vanes 34, 36 accommodate, in use, a seal 202 having a T-shaped cross- sectional profile. The seal 202 thus includes a base or stem portion 202.1 and a head portion 202.2. The base portion 202.1 matched to the elongate groove 100 such that it can be accommodated snugly therein. In such a case, the head portion 202.2 projects outwardly and laterally from the groove 100 thereby being sandwiched between edge faces of the vanes 34, 36 and the engine block 12. The seals 202 are biased outwardly against inner faces of the engine block 12 in similar fashion to seals 102 of Figures 1 and 2.

Further, adjacent seals 202 interconnect by means of sliding dovetail-type connections. Top and bottom seals 202 each have a male dovetail connection 204 at their outer ends, while the side seals 202 each have female dovetail connections 206 at both of their ends. In use, when the seals 202 are positioned with their base 202.1 extending within the groove 100, the complementary male dovetail connections 204 and female dovetail connections 206 interconnect, thereby to form a tighter seal at corners of the vanes 34, 36.

Figures 9 and 10 show the engine assembly 10 to include an annular seal assembly 209 which includes an annular seal ring 210 and an annular mounting member 212. The mounting member 212 defines in a radially outer face thereof an annular recess 214 to accommodate the seal ring 210. The mounting member 212 is accommodated, in use, within the annular groove 108 defined in the axially outer end face of the hub 32 such

that at least a portion of the mounting member 212 and the seal ring 210 stand axially proud of the hub 32. Although not shown, there is a similar seal assembly 209 at the bottom of the hub 32. The inner face of the top wall 22 and the bottom wall 23 define therein circular recesses (not shown). The protruding portion of the mounting member 212 and the seal ring 210 are received within the circular recess such that the seal ring 210 bears radially outwardly against a radially inner face of the circular recess, thereby providing a seal between the hub 32 and the top and bottom walls 22, 23 respectively.

The mounting member 212 is secured in the groove 108 of the axially outer face of the hub 32 by a positive connection arrangement including a plurality of bolts or screws 216. The mounting member 212 defines therein a plurality of circumferentially spaced bores 215 which align with respective threaded sockets 217 defined in the groove 108 of the hub 32. Thus, the bolts or screws 216 are received within the bores 215 and are screwingly engaged with the threaded sockets 217 thereby to secure the mounting member 212 to the hub 32. The bolts or screws 216 are countersunk such that their respective head portions lie below an axially outer face of the mounting member 212.

Referring now also to Figure 8, side walls 18, 20 of the engine block 12 additionally define therein four axially extending angularly spaced grooves 110 in the radially outer periphery of the cylindrical cavity 28. The grooves 110 extend axially relative to the pivot axis 30.1 and accommodate respective radial seals 112. The radial seals 112 are elongate and have quadrangular cross-sectional profiles. The radial seal 112 has a sealing face which is directed towards the hub 32, the sealing face being inclined relative to the tangent of the hub 32 at its point of contact with the hub 32, when the radial seal 112 is seen in cross-section, so that the radial seal 112 and the hub 32 abut along an axially extending line of sealing contact. The line of sealing contact is preferably located on a high-pressure side of the radial seal 112, the remainder of the sealing face diverging from the radially outer surface of the hub 32 on the low pressure side of the radial seal 112, In use, the line

of sealing contact will thus be positioned on the side of the radial seal 112 which is closest to the adjacent cylinder defined by the engine block 12.

The seals 102, 109, 112 (and 204, 210) are of cast iron or may, instead, be of another suitable material.

A trochoidal oil pump 60 (only partially shown) includes an outer ring gear having eleven radially inwardly projecting rounded teeth, the outer ring gear being fast with the engine block 12. An inner ring gear, or conjugate gear, has ten radially outwardly projecting rounded teeth, and a plurality of radially inwardly projecting teeth. The inwardly projecting teeth of the inner ring gear mesh at a single point with teeth on the output shaft 40, the inner ring gear therefore being driven by the output shaft 40. The inner ring gear follows an epicycloidal path about the output shaft 40, and a hypocycloidal path within the outer ring gear. As the curved teeth of the inner ring gear mesh consecutively with the curved teeth of the outer ring gear, oil is forced between the respective curved teeth and forced into guided oil paths to lubricate the hub 32 and other moving parts. The engine block 12 defines therein a plurality of oil guide paths, some of which can be seen in the form of bores 61.

Referring now to Figure 2, the walls 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23 of the engine block 12 are shown fitted together. The hub 32 is pivotally mounted in the engine block 12 via journalled bearings 70. The journal bearings 70 are co-axial with the pivot axis 30.1 , to permit reciprocating pivotal movement of the hub 32 about the pivot axis 30.1.

The hub 32 is hollow, and a cam housing 74 is mounted inside the hub 32. The cam housing 74 is fast with the hub 32 for movement with the hub about the pivot axis 30.1. However, the cam housing 74 is pivotally mounted on the hub 32, via journal bearings 76, to pivot about a cam axis 74.1 which is normal to the pivot axis 30.1. The cam axis 74.1 intersects both the output shaft 40 and the pivot axis 30.1. The cam housing 74 is therefore able to pivot relative to the engine block 12 about two orthogonal axes: the

pivot axis 30.1 with the output member 30; and the cam axis 74.1 relative to the output member 30.

The cam axis 74.1 is also transverse to the rotational axis 40.1. In this example, the rotational axis 40.1 is normal to the pivot axis 30.1. It will be appreciated that, in other embodiments of the invention, the pivot axis 30.1 and the rotational axis 40.1 can be co-axial.

The output shaft 40 has fixed thereto a disc 80 which is inclined relative to the rotational axis 40.1 (further described below).

Figures 3 and 4 show greater detail of the output member 30, the cam housing 74 and the output shaft 40, which together comprise a conversion mechanism. The output member 30 is shown in two separated identical halves, while the output shaft 40 is shown in retracted from the interior of the cam housing 74. In operation, the disc 80 is received in the interior of the cam housing 74.

The output shaft 40 passes through a passage 82 defined in the cam housing 74. For illustrative purposes, Figures 3 - 5 show a wobble axis

80.1 which is normal to the inclined disc 80. In the illustrated embodiment, the wobble axis 80.1 is tilted relative to the rotational axis 40.1 by an angle of 16°.

Thrust bearings 90 are positioned on either side of the inclined disc 80, the thrust bearings 90 located on a cylindrical seat 83 which is co-axial with the wobble axis 80.1. A circular mouth 82.1 at one end of the passage is threaded complementahly to a screw-threaded locking ring 92. When the locking ring 92 is screwingly attached to the mouth 82.1 , the inclined disc 80 and the thrust bearings 90 are held axially captive within the cam housing 74.

The cam housing 74 defines two inwardly directed axially spaced or side walls 86 within the passage 82. One of the side walls 86 is provided by an axially inner surface of the locking ring 92. The side walls 86 are arranged to bear against the thrust bearings 90, so that, when assembled, the disc 80 is sandwiched between the thrust bearings 90 which are, in turn,

sandwiched between the opposed and parallel side walls 86. The side walls 86, thrust bearings 90, and disc 80 thus, in use, are forced to remain in a parallel face-to-face spatial relationship, co-axial with the wobble axis 80.1.

The side walls 86 bear against the inclined disc 80 via the thrust bearings 90, the side walls 86 therefore in use acting as cam members or cam faces and the inclined disc 80 as a cam follower, with frictionless, or low- friction, sliding movement of the disc 80 relative to the side walls 86 being permitted by action of the thrust bearings 90.

In use, and referring now to Figures 5, 6, and 7, the engine 11 is started in conventional fashion by externally rotating the output shaft 40 about the rotational axis 40.1. In a first operative position, shown in Figure 5, the vanes 34, 36 are adjacent one side of their respective cylinders 24, 26. The engine 11 can operate in either two-stroke mode or four-stroke mode. In two- stroke mode, a fuel-air mixture in two combustion chambers (the chamber formed between one side of a vane 34, 36 and a portion of the cylinder adjacent that side of the vane 34, 36) is ignited simultaneously. However, the following description focuses on four-stroke mode. Also, the engine 11 can use as fuel petrol or diesel, i.e. be spark or compression ignition, but the following description describes the operation of the engine 1 1 using petrol. The engine 1 1 in this configuration has a compression ratio of about 10:1 .

A fuel-air mixture, fed through the intake port 56 via the intake valve 42, is compressed in a first combustion chamber 34.1 . A spark plug

(not shown) sparks in the combustion chamber 34.1 igniting the fuel-air mixture in conventional fashion. The fuel-air mixture expands, displacing the vane 34 in a direction indicated by arrow 35.1 , and hence causes the output member 30 to pivot about pivot axis 30.1 .

The cam housing 74 moves with the output member 30 about the pivot axis 30.1 due to its pivotal connection to the output member 30, as described above, The cam faces 86 of the cam housing 74 bear against the inclined disc 80 (the cam follower) via the thrust bearings 90. When the vane

34 is at one extremity of its stroke (referred to further as top dead centre, for ease of description), as shown in Figure 5, the wobble axis 80.1 of the inclined disc 80 lies in a plane perpendicular to the pivot axis 30.1 and intersecting the rotational axis 40.1.

It is to be appreciated that engagement of the cam housing 74 with the disc 80 is such that the orientation of the cam housing 74 must follow that of the disc 80. Because the output shaft 40 is journalled in the engine block 12, movement of the cam housing 74 and the disc 80 is linked to rotation of the output shaft 40, their orientation remaining perpendicular to the wobble axis 80.1. Upon rotation of the output shaft 40, either due to forces transferred to it from the output member 30 or due to the shaft's momentum, the wobble axis 80.1 is rotated about the rotational axis 40.1. As the wobble axis 80.1 intersects the rotational axis 40.1 at the centre of the cam housing 74, the wobble axis 80.1 describes a conical path co-axial with the rotational axis 40.1 and having its vertex at the centre of the cam housing 74.

The output member 30, when propelled by combustion in the chamber 34.1 , thus exerts a moment on the cam housing 74 about pivot axis 30.1 . It will be appreciated that forces between the cam housing 74 and the disc 80 are perpendicular to the interacting faces, thus being parallel to the wobble axis 801 . For ease of explanation, these forces can be represented by a pair of forces which act on diametrically opposite parts of the periphery of the disc 80, the forces acting in opposite directions and being parallel to the wobble axis 80.1 . Each of these forces can be reduced to component forces in three orthogonal axes. For ease of description, the two axes which are visible in Figure 5 are referred to as the x-axis and the y-axis, while the two axes of Figure 2 are the x-axis and the z-axis. In other words, the output shaft 40 lies in the x-y plane, while the pivot axis 30.1 lies in the x-z plane.

It will be appreciated that only the z-component of the cam forces will create a moment about the rotational axis 40.1 , and that the remaining forces will either result in pivoting of the cam housing 74 about the cam axis 74.1 or be counteracted by the shaft bearings.

When the output member 30 is thus at top dead center (Figure 5), the wobble axis 80.1 lies wholly in the x-y plane, so that the z-component of the cam forces is zero, no rotational moment thus being exerted on the output shaft 40. However, the inclined disc 80 is carried past the dead centre by the momentum of the output shaft 40 (or by the external rotation of the output shaft 40 when the engine 11 is started). The conversion mechanism passes the dead centre as the output member 30 pivots in the direction indicated by arrow 35.1.

As the engine 11 moves into an orientation shown in Figure 6, the wobble axis 80.1 moves out of the x-y plane, so that the z-components of the cam forces result in turning of the output shaft 40 by the output member 30 via the conversion mechanism. During such movement, the cam housing 74 simultaneously pivots about the pivot axis 30.1 and about the cam axis

74.1.

At the same time, an air-fuel mixture already present in combustion chamber 36.1 is being compressed by the vane 36 moving in a direction indicated by arrow 37.1. As the output shaft 40 rotates, it drives the worm gears 50, which mesh with the gears 52 to rotate the cams 58 about the cam shafts 54. One cam 58 displaces the rocker arm 59 associated with the intake valve 58 of combustion chamber 36.2, and displacement of the vane 36 in the direction of the arrow 37.1 therefore draws fuel-air mixture into the chamber 36.2.

Chamber 34.2 contains exhaust gas, and a rocker arm 59 opens the exhaust valve 44 associated with chamber 34.2, and the displacement of the vane 34 in the direction of the arrow 35.1 exhausts the exhaust gas from the chamber 34.2.

As the ignited fuel-air mixture in the chamber 34.1 continues to expand, the output member 30 is displaced further, into the orientation shown in Figure 7, in which the vane 34, 36 are at an opposite end of their strokes.

For ease of reference, this position is referred to as bottom dead centre. During movement towards bottom dead centre, the cam faces 86 continue to bear against the inclined disc 80, causing rotation of the output shaft 40 and wobbling movement of the cam housing 74. The wobble axis 80.1 is thus further revolved about the rotational axis 40.1 , and again, at bottom dead centre, passes through the x-y plane. At bottom dead centre, however, the wobble axis 80.1 is in a position symmetrically opposite to its position at top dead centre, having been rotated through 180° along its path. As mentioned above, the pivotal motion of the cam housing about both the pivot axis 30.1 and the cam axis 74.1 effectively causes the cam housing 74 to wobble with the wobble axis 80.1 about the output shaft 40, thus accommodating the changing orientations of the inclined disc 80. The cam housing 74 pivots a total of 32° about the cam axis, corresponding to the range of motion of the vane 34, 36 from top dead centre to bottom dead centre. It can be seen from the example that the inclination of the wobble axis 80.1 relative to the rotational axis 40.1 (resulting from the orientation of the inclined disc 80) is half the angular displacement of the output member 30 about its pivot axis 30.1 to cause 180° rotation of the output shaft 40.

At bottom dead centre, no net moment is again exerted on the output shaft 40, but the output shaft 40 rotates past the bottom dead centre because of its angular momentum. At bottom dead centre, the output member 30 changes the direction of its movement about the pivot axis 30.1 , because of the momentum of the output shaft 40 and/or a flywheel connected to it.

The fuel-air mixture in chamber 36.1 is now compressed, and the above described process is repeated, with the fuel-air mixture in chamber 36.1 being ignited.

Although the output member 30 moves from bottom dead centre to top dead centre in a direction opposite to its movement from top dead centre to bottom dead centre, the output shaft 40 is rotated in the same direction by the output member 30 via the converting arrangement. This is

due to the inclined disc 80 having an opposite inclination relative to the output shaft 40 when viewed in the y-z plane. The cam forces are thus exerted on opposite sides of the disc 80 relative the cam forces during opposite movement, the resultant couple or moment transferred to the output shaft 40 being of similar magnitude and orientation to that transferred during opposite pivotal movement of the output member 30.

Although a chamber firing order of 34.1 -> 36.1 -> 36.2 -> 34.2 is described, the engine 11 may have any convenient firing order, based on the timing of the valves 42, 44 and firing of the spark plugs.

As the output shaft 40 rotates, it drives the inner ring gear of the trochoidal oil pump 60 thereby distributing oil throughout the engine block 12.

In other embodiments of the invention, the disc 80 can be replaced by a seat or collar on which one or more thrust bearings are mounted for cam engagement with the cam housing 74.

The Inventor believes that the invention as exemplified has a number of advantages. The engine is relatively compact, and therefore has a high power to weight ratio. Furthermore, the pivotally reciprocating vane configuration provides two combustion chambers per cylinder, thereby increasing the power output of the engine.

Importantly, the conversion mechanism is operable to convert effectively the pivotally reciprocating motion of the output member into rotational motion of the output shaft. The conversion mechanism is relatively compact, being housed within the hub of the output member.

Also, the engine may use as fuel either petrol by adjusting the compression ratio to about 10:1 , or diesel by adjusting the compression ratio to about 20:1. The configuration of the combustions chambers further allows the engine to be configured for either two-stroke mode or four-stroke operation.

Further, the Inventor believes that the engine is well-suited for use of hydrogen as fuel and by virtue of its configuration will be more stable when using hydrogen than a conventional piston engine.