Entrant Profile

Sky Huddleston

Location: Bourbon, Missouri United States

Company: Liberator LLC/Eternal Engines

Profession: Engineer/Designer

Inspired by: Growing up in a family that always lacked funding for newer automobiles, I quickly found myself helping my father rebuild the family's old work truck and vehicles. I learned fast and became acutely aware of the various problems that plague aging engines. When I joined the Army (ARNG 88 Mike) I realized the need for longer lasting more reliable prime movers that would be easier to maintain and have a higher degree of efficiency and a lower thermal signature. I set about intensely studying and learning everything I could about all aspects of engine design. I realized that the ICE has not advanced much in 100 years at a fundamental level. We still use the same architecture developed in the late 19th century. I did not accept that merely adding control schemes to old architecture, moving the camshaft above the block and into the cylinder head, and adding 2 extra valves per cylinder was the paragon of engine design. I've never trusted poppet valves and I've experienced too many valvetrain failures to trust them. Camshafts wear out exceptionally fast, and slapping piston skirts create asperities along the surface of the cylinder walls, wearing them out faster and causing an elliptical wear profile. I then started researching every possible architecture that has been experimented with in the past, understood their advantages, disadvantages, and why they never reached adoption. I then over the course of years of intensive study combined the best aspects of every possible architecture, looking at all engines from RC nitro engines for cars, to aviation, to marine, diesel, top fuel, alcohol burners, old stationary engine design quirks of the 19th century, every possible approach to design, and I combined the best aspects of the best designs taking into consideration every possible node of failure, wear, maintainability, and future proofing, to create what I am strongly convinced to be the best engine design thus far conceived. My research didn’t stop at simply reviewing the architecture, however, and included metallurgy of engines, tribology and oil formulation, the organic chemistry and nuances of how various fuels oxidize and burn and how to optimize their characteristics, emissions and catalytic reactions, and so forth. If it at all relates to ICE’s even indirectly, I’ve read dozens of books on the subjects and reproduced and ran experiments on the models outlined in said books. After much research I selected the scotch yoke engine invented by Russel Bourke in the mid 20th century as my foundation, as the scotch yoke boasts virtually all of the advantages of tri-lobe engine designs such as rotary’s without their high surface area to volume ratio’s (which always limits efficiency) and short lifespans, and is much easier and affordable to manufacture than even conventional engines which is especially important for developing nations, and indeed has a lifespan much greater than conventional engines.

My partner and senior advisor in this endeavor, Roger Richard, had a similar path in life to lead him to this conclusion. Having been an aviator for years coupled with his experience in the Vietnam conflict of the 1960’s and early 70’s he too became passionate about the development of more robust, reliable, and efficient engine designs and independently arrived at the same conclusion years before I did. Roger being a master machinist and myself being an apprentice machinist, we’ve been machining, assembly, testing, tweaking, and developing this engine design for nearly a half century of combined effort and we are very close to being ready for mass manufacture. Indeed, our single acting iterations ARE ready for mass manufacture.

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