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Piston Engine Engine Detonation Engine


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So this was loosely inspired by the Greg's Airplanes and Automobiles series of videos on WWII engine performance* along with various things that I have read over the years.


Basically, it seems like there may be a relatively straight forward and consistent set of parameters that determine whether a piston engine is at risk of detonation, including charge temperature, fuel quality, anti-detonation, cylinder temperature, boost, compression ratio, etc etc etc. Further, it appears that during the 1930's and 1940's, NACA conducted very extensive research on most, if not all of these factors, which was largely forgotten about when jets rendered high performance piston engines obsolete. Additionally, it appears that this may have been a significant area of logistical impact, even though it may not have been very visible to the pilots and historians of the time. FInally, it appears that aircraft design and development was much more legos and mix-and-match and see what happens than current modern highly integrated aircraft**


Given all of that, it seems like there may be value added in building a generic engine for modeling piston engine behaviours, that can accept the various piston engine inputs and output the heat dumps into the cooling systems, power at the shaft, and likelihood of the engine suffering detonation, among other necessary factors. While I'm guessing if something like this does not already exist, it would require an unpleasant amount of code refactoring, it seems like implementing a generic highly universal model for it could reduce the overall workload for implementing new aircraft, along with opening up possibilities for mission and campaigns, dealing with the difficulties of the impacts of logistics, problems with fuel quality, or managing engines in conditions that they are manifestly unsuited for. My personal interest is the Thunderbolt, and I could see training campaigns running on low octane stateside gas, to Normandy campaigns involving from 100-130 to full 150 octane, to the challenge of keeping the engine running right in frozen Russian campaigns in lend-lease frames on 94 Octane avgas.


Overall, I'm thinking given the apparently un-integrated nature of WWII aircraft design, it seems like they would be amenable to generating much more genericized high detailed models that more modern aircraft with their tightly integrated systems.


It's gotten late here and the idea still isn't fully formed, but I'll hold here and pick this up later.


Thank you,


Harry Voyager





** There was an interesting discussion by a different team explaining how they could justify adding floats to many aircraft that never had them, where the developers responded by posting a set of period papers detailing how to add floats to basically anything, even if it made no actual practical sense (witness the F4F-3S)

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