Felix Wankel (1902-1988)
He was born on August 13, 1902, in Luhran, Germany.
Wankel was employed in many engineering labors before he opened his own research establishment at the age of 28. Between the years 1926 and 1945, he worked as a sealing specialist at the German Aeronautical Research Establishment DVL attaining the development work on rotary valves. In 1951, he began working with the research department of a German motor manufacturer, NSU Motorenwerk AG at Neckarsulm. He dedicated himself to the creation and development of the next best alternative device to the conventional piston-and-cylinder internal combustion engine. Four years later, after much experimentation, he completed the design of a rotary-piston engine. The year after, he successfully produced a model with a curved equilateral triangular rotor in a figure-of-eight-shaped chamber. By 1957, the first unit was tested. He applied for several patents, such as patents on all methods and techniques required in order to create the engine. The Wankel engine was a rotary-piston device that possessed good performance, few moving parts and was of light weight. In addition, the instrument was employed in automobiles and airplanes. However, the engine presented few obstacles of inconvenience, which prevented the device from being adopted at a large-scale. The sealing of the rotor was the cause of these problems. Due to this, Wankel went to Lindau to direct his own research establishment and to investigate the fundamental problems of the rotary-piston engine.
Wankel died on October 9, 1988, in Heidelberg, Germany
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