Wankle Engine / Rotary Engine – Advancing the Combustion Engines

Wankle engine is an internal combustion engine which is manufactured on the basis of eccentric rotary design. In comparison with other reciprocating engines Wankle engine is simpler, smooth and compact. It also have high revolutions /min and high power to weight ratio. Commonly this Combustion Engine is known as rotary engine. In other reciprocating engines all parts make convulsive movement in all directions but in Wankle engines all parts rotate moving only in one direction.
Rotary engine has advantages of less weight and compact form over the other engines with reciprocating pistons. Due to these distinguishing properties it have wide range of applications in different auto mobile vehicles like motor bike , cars, racing vehicles, air crafts, jets , go carts etc.


The 4 strokes of an Otto cycle are completed in a triangular rotor and within housing. In a 4-stroke engine one power stroke per cylinder  is completed with two turns of the crankshaft i.e. ½  combustion stroke per rotation of thee crankshaft while in Wankle engines one power stroke is generated for one rotation of the driveshaft i.e. 1 power stroke per revolution of the rotor. Thus the Wankle engine has greater power output than a 4-stroke combustion engine of the same dimensions.

A Wankle engine can undergo more revolutions than a piston engine with same output power. This becomes possible due to smooth motion and absenteeism of heavy parts like crankshafts and connecting rods.

Model View                                                                                                                             Practical View


Combustion Engine


  1. Automobile Racing:

Wankle engine has been used in racing cars and it had gain substantial progress in this field. Mazda had designed “Mazda Rx-8” racing car, embedded with Wankle engine, which got the title the car of the year 2003.

  1. Motorcycle engine:

Due its small size and less power to weight ratio invite the motorcycle manufactures to use the Wankle engine. The first Wankle engine motorbike was built in 1960.

  1. Aircraft engines:

Due to its high power to weight ratio, compact form and small size a Wankle engine is suitable for air crafts. The first Wankle engined aircraft was prepared by United States army for experimental purposes. However because of pre-flight checks, in air crafts, the Wankle engine becomes sufficiently warm.


  1. The power to weight ratio of a Wankle engine is much higher than a piston engine
  2. It is three times smaller in size as compared with a piston engine of the same power output.
  3. This engine is free from reciprocating parts.
  4. It may achieve higher revolutions/min than a reciprocating engine.
  5. A typical Wankle engine operates with minimal vibration.
  6. It costs less due to fewer hardware parts.
  7. Breathing ability of a Wankle engine is better than a piston engine.
  8.  Wankle engines may use fuels of high octane ranges .


  1. Due to long, narrow and thin combustion chamber, combustion is slow
  2. Seals leakage problem.
  3. Excess fuel combustion due to poor sealing.
  4. It expels unburnt fuel, which contaminates the environment.

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