The Mazda RX-8

Mazda continues to pioneer cutting-edge styling with the RX-8s unique freestyle four-door design, effectively demonstrating that a true sports car does not need to sacrifice space or convenience.

Sunlight Silver, Strato Blue, Titanium Gray, Brilliant Black, Lightning Yellow, Velocity Red, Nordic Green, Winning Blue
Photo by member 'AMH'

The RX-8 delivers unprecedented sports car driving pleasure with the RENESIS rotary engine offering smooth, immediate power. Double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, complemented by electric power-assisted steering, yields razor sharp handling.


In addition to being the most revolutionary sports car, the RX-8 is also one of the safest with standard features like ABS with Electronic Brake Distribution, front and seat-mounted airbags as well as side air curtains. Mazda also incorporated high-strength steel construction for the side paneling and a special door-latch system in the freestyle door openings to create a solid exterior shell.


Photos by member 'Critters'


What is a Rotary Engine?
In a traditional 4-stroke piston engine, the same cylinder, does four different jobs - intake, compression, combustion, exhaust.

A rotary engine, however, allows each of these four jobs to be done in a different section of its housing. The effect is not unlike having a separate cylinder to perform each of the four jobs.

In a piston engine, expansion pressure created by burning of the fuel-air mixture forces pistons to move back and forth inside of cylinders. Connecting rods and a crankshaft then convert this linear movement into rotational motion required to drive the car.

In a rotary engine there is no linear motion to convert. Pressure is contained in chambers created by different areas of the housing and convex faces of a triangular rotor. As combustion occurs the rotor is immediately made to turn thus reducing vibration and increasing potential engine revs. The resultant increase in efficiency also means that the engine can be much smaller for equivalent performance of a traditional piston engine.
 


  The main component of the rotary engine is the triangular rotor, which orbits within a roughly oval housing (stator) in such a way that the rotor's three apexes are in constant contact with the inner wall of the housing, forming three sealed volumes of gas, or combustion chambers. In effect, each of the rotor's three faces acts like a piston. As the rotor rotates within the housing, the three chambers that it creates change size, producing a pumping action.

In the centre of the rotor is a small externally toothed gear that is fixed to the housing. A larger internally toothed gear mates with this fixed gear, determining the path that the rotor will take through the housing.

Because the rotor is mounted off-centre on the output shaft it turns the shaft with the same motion as a handle turns a crank, moving output shaft through three revolutions for every one of its own.

For a more detailed breakdown of how the engine works follow these links:
A very good animated breakdown of how the engine works
The engine on howstuffworks.com
Quicktime videos on rotaryengineillustrated.com


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