On this theme, which was the best aircraft engine in WW2 the in line or the radial and what were their merits (or otherwise)
Hi Paul. Good question. According to what Data I have available, Radial Engines were the preferred aircraft engine, although the preference is usually subjective to the situation at hand.
To make this somewhat easier, I broke it down into two parts. Vee vs. Radial and Liquid vs. Air Cooled. My reasoning is that you can have aircooled Vee engines or liquid cooled radials. I've seen cases of one, and firmly believe its possible for the other.
The Benefits of Radial Engines:
Smoother running. (At least in concept.)
More cylinders for a given displacement.
High Torque at lower RPM.
Fewer Main Journals and a shorter crankshaft length.
Often easier to maintain.
Disadvantages of Radial Engines:
Harder to Manufacture because they Require more machined parts vs. cast or forged.
Problems with fuel/air delivery.
Benefits of Vee Engines:
Easier to manufacture, because they can make use of large castings or forgings for the engine block with minimal machining.
Better air/fuel delivery
Smaller and easier to fit into unusual or awkward spaces.
Multiple Main Journals/longer crankshaft.
More prone to Harmonic Imbalance.
Harder to maintain.
Advantages of Liquid Cooling:
Higher Thermodynamic Efficiency.
Disadvantages of Liquid Cooling:
Prone to coolant loss and subsequent engine failure.
Radiators and plumbing can be hard to fit.
Advantages of Aircooled:
Lighter, fewer parts.
Will operate longer in overheat condition before engine failure
Require more regular maintenance.
Hard to maintain adequate airflow.
Anyone else who has better information regarding this subject is more than welcome to speak up.
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