The Flamelicker


| January/February 1970



The two-stroke cycle

Route 1 Box 54 Du Bois, Illinois 62831

The 'What Is It?' engine, on the top of page 22 of the March-April GEM, is indeed a 'flamelicker'.

I came across an article in the December 1938 issue of Popular Mechanics ; It explained the operation of this type of hot-air engine, and included plans for construction of one.

The burner, or candle flame, provides the power for the engine. The two-stroke cycle is shown in the diagram. Just before top dead center the valve opens; the piston starts on the downward stroke (fig. 1.) and 'inhales' part of the flame (actually hot gas); the valve closes at bottom dead center, and immediately the gas cools, creates a vacuum, and draws the piston back up (fig. 2.), the power stroke. The valve opens just before top dead center to let the cooled gas escape before drawing a fresh charge of hot gas.

A model engine of this sort should not be hard to construct, as the two-stroke cycle needs no gears. The piston does not require elaborate sealing, and the valve mechanism and timing are not at all critical. The original Popular Mechanics article showed bearings built up out of solder, asbestos cordfora single piston ring, and a flap-like valve operated by a cam on the crank-shaft.

Another Show coming up on April 10, 11, & 12, in Cheraw, South Carolina also makes one think of Spring and flowers, Mr. & Mrs. R. S. Rogers, who are planning the show. And at that time, in that State, Winter will have been forgotten and many flowers will be in full bloom.