Curmudgeon in Training (CIT)
- Apr 13, 2009
- Warren, VT USA
What is the status of Merlin engines out there? If someone were to engineer a replacement would there be a world market for restoration or museum projects? The killer is that if you wanted to use a fully engineered engine to replace a Merlin you would probably have to pay for all the development work shared amongst the few who play and that isn't cost effective. But wouldn't that be a milestone, that there was a market to resurrect designs that are that far back in the industrial revolution timeline. No one has done the kind of development on government dollars in augmented piston engines since that era just because there hasn't been a need. The dual inline V8 (making V16) seems like the best alternative I have seen recently. That still has merit in terms of off the shelf parts but the work to make an engine work in the 2700RPM range is significant. We have lots of auto engines that highway cruise with no power in that range but none that actually make any significant power there.Creating an accurate digital engineering model is the first step in making something like this possible. It could be used to create the tooling and processes and it wouldn't require an enormous amount of resources other than digital and time ones. And you could sell copies!
I wonder what engine would be developed these days if someone had the task of designing a P51 from scratch? Today's engines tend toward higher revving boosted engines for light weight and power. With the requirements of a prop driven high altitude long range machine and the limitation of piston engines I wonder what would have been developed. At the end of the development period during the war it seems that there was still a big disagreement amongst the competitors whether a big radial or an inline V watercooled was the best way to skin the cat.... Hmmmmmm?