Terry Knight, from Engineering TV, and I had an interesting time at the Military Vehicles Exhibition and Conference (MVEC) this week. There were plenty of connectors, electronics and simulators at ths show in addition to two companies with some neat hardware: Monolith Engines and Vyper Adamas. We did some video interviews with these companies and they will be posted on Engineering TV next week.
Monolith Engines was showing off a new opposed piston engine (see Compact Quad Opposed Piston Engine Uses Split Crankshaft). There are two and four cycle versions and it is possible to use two or four pistons. With two, each moves in the opposite direction. With four, two push out while the other two push in on the second part of the cycle.
What is really neat is the dual, split crankshaft that provides a balanced configuration that reduces wear and vibration. The connecting rod between the pistons and the crankshaft remain perpendicular to the piston. There is no need for counterweights either. The engine can be turbo charged too. Electronic ignition and timing can help as well.
The engine tends to be more compact than other engines. It is also simpler to build since it can be built with an extruded block instead of the more expensive cast blocks normally used.
More Than A Dune Buggy
Vyper Adamas knows how to turn out rugged dune buggies but its latest Vyper is much more (See Active Stabilization Steadies Fast Attack Vehicle). It's active stabilization system and heaavy duty suspension allows the Vyper to go 120 mph where there are no roads without dislocating the driver's head from their shoulders. It can also carry a modular POD that sits between the driver and the rear mounted engine.
The POD system allows the vehicle to be used for everything from search and rescue to cleaning up after an oil spill. Vyper Adamas has created a POD for almost any application including military weapon platforms. They were showing off a fire suppression system that turns the vehicle into a fire truck.
The PODs can be swapped in and out as necessary so the medical POD might be dropped off being replaced with the SuperSuker POD for cleaning up an oil spill.
Check out the articles for more details. I'm off to the AUVSI show in Washington next week. The MVEC videos should be up then and we will be getting a lot more at AUVSI highlighting things like micro UAVs. Should be fun.