AN invention with potential to dramatically change internal combustion engines worldwide is being developed by a Warrnambool-based company.
It uses pistons with air seals instead of the conventional steel rings that have been in vogue since the early days of petroleum-powered engines.
The invention of 67-year-old Colin Young, who was born and educated in Warrnambool, the device is being fine-tuned by Warrnambool engineer Brian Trigg and his team at Dynex, of which Mr Young is a key member.
“This is the most exciting concept I’ve ever been linked with,” Mr Trigg said.
“If we can make it work it will revolutionise the motor industry.
“There’s been enormous interest nationally and from overseas.
“But there’s still a long way to go and will require huge investment to get it to market.
“We’ve put our money into it and have faith it’s going to be a winner.”
The design, protected by patent, offers higher efficiency, lower emissions and longer engine life than conventional pistons.
Grooves in the piston sides create virtual rings of air pressure to create a seal with the cylinder wall. It is particularly relevant for rotary and Scotch-yoke engines.
Prototypes have been undergoing testing and refinement since July 1, but it could be years before commercial production.
“Sadly we are a small company and haven’t got an unlimited budget,” Mr Trigg said.
“We are using income generated by our other projects and there are a few potential backers talking to us.
“It’s such a shame our government doesn’t support research and development more because Australia has some brilliant engineers, including Colin Young.”
Mr Young said he hit on the idea by going back to basics and analysing problems in engine design.
“With this design you don’t need metal-to-metal rubbing as with steel piston rings,” he said.
“Advantages in our design certainly outweigh the disadvantages.
“Hopefully we can save some Australian industries and jobs.”
Mr Young, who has worked 47 years in the automotive industry, was educated at Warrnambool Primary School and the former technical school in Timor Street, where TAFE now stands.
He obtained his automotive engineering degree with General Motors in the US.
His career has included developing emission controls, safety improvements and alternative fuels plus voluntary work on recreational vehicle safety.