Lister 5/1 Diesel

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Aviation engines Page 3 - Diesels

Back in the UK at Beardmore, the 'Tornado Mk 111' engine for the R101 was running into power and weight problems, and the results of that are well enough known. The design power of 700 hp was too optimistic, and 585 hp continuous, 650 hp maximum was all they could get out of it. The weight problems were compounded by the use of iron castings in the sump and other structural parts, because aluminium castings of sufficient quality could not be obtained, which increased the engine weight considerably at a time when it had to be lost. The final quoted dry weight was 4500 lbs. The engine was started by a small auxiliary engine at the rear or operating end, this engine developed 40 hp in it's own right, and it looks like a twin cylinder sidevalve petrol engine in the cut-away drawing I have. 20 hp was required to start the Tornado main engine.

Beardmore also produced another aircraft diesel, a flat-12 'Boxer' diesel. This was 12 cylinders of 6" X 6½" with a capacity of 2206 cu ins, and developed 505 hp at 1750 rpm, but with a weight of only 1485 lbs, contrasting sharply with the Tornado engine which had it's ancestry in a rail-car engine.

Germany had a number of large industrial engine producers, amongst them was Mercedes-Benz, part of Daimler-Benz. The company was later to make engines for U-boats before and during WW2, but they also made the diesel engines for the Hindenburg and other airships. The Hindenburg had DB-602 engines of 16 cylinders in V formation, each cylinder being 175 mm X 230 mm, giving a swept volume of 88.50 litres or 5450 cu ins!

 Mercedes V16 Aero Diesel

Mercedes V16 Diesel Aero Engine Side View

These monsters developed 1200 hp maximum at 1600 rpm, or 900 hp continuous at 1400 rpm, with a dry weight of 4400 lbs, not far off the Beardmore weight but developing considerably more power. The dimensions are also worth looking at: the Mercedes-Benz was 2.69 metres long, 1.02 metres wide and 1.35 metres high, quite compact for it's day, against the Beardmore's 3 metre length & 1.75 metre height. I do not have width dimensions at the time of writing.

 Mercedes V12 Aero Diesel

Mercedes V12 Diesel Aero Engine Front View

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