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Internal combustion engine with opposed pistons

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The present invention relates generally to an internal combustion engine. More specifically, the present invention relates to an internal combustion engine having horizontally opposed pistons within one cylinder.

Engines, in general, operate as a function of their geometry. Typically, the workings of the engine components are fixed in relation during operation. This relation is not capable of changing during various operating conditions of the engine. The relationship of the various components are thus not optimized over the full operating range of the engine. Typically, the geometry is optimized in a narrow operating range of the engine.

Various engines having horizontally opposed pistons within one cylinder are known. Engines having two horizontally opposed pistons are suitable for many applications. Such engines may be used in four cycle and two cycle applications. The advantage of using two pistons in a single cylinder is that the compression within in the cylinder may be altered by moving one piston with respect to the other. The movement of one piston with respect to the other is known as changing the phase of the pistons. It is desirable to change the phase of the pistons based on the relative speed of the crankshaft. In this manner, the compression of the engine may be changed as desired based on operating conditions of the engine.

One drawback to using two pistons in a single cylinder is the positioning of the valves. The valves are commonly oriented in a direction perpendicular to the axis of the cylinder. This orientation increases the overall size of the block. For many applications space is limited. A larger block also increases the weight of the engine. For reasons of economy, reducing weight is desirable.

Another disadvantage to horizontally opposed pistons within a single cylinder is that a significant amount of dead space is formed around the location of each valve and the location of the spark plug. In many configurations, the valves are located on opposite sides of the cylinder or are spaced apart on the same side of the cylinder. When closed, the valves are spaced back from the cylinder walls to prevent wear. The area directly adjacent the valves is the "dead space". Dead space is the space within the cylinder through which the pistons do not travel. Dead space is an irregular shape and may facilitate the build-up of undesired emissions gases during combustion. Reduction of dead space is therefore desirable.

An internal combustion engine has an engine block has a cylinder defined therein. The cylinder has a longitudinal axis. A first piston and a second piston are disposed within the cylinder. The first piston is directly opposed to the second piston. A first crankshaft is coupled to the first piston. A second crankshaft is coupled to the second piston. The first crankshaft is coupled to the second crankshaft through a plurality of gears. A pocket extends from the cylinder. The pocket defines a dead space therein. The pocket has a first wall spaced apart from a second wall, and a third wall coupled between the first wall and the second wall. The first wall has a first opening. The second wall has a second opening. The third wall has a third opening. A first valve is located within the first opening. A second valve located within the second opening. A spark plug is located within the third opening.

- The invention has not been previously sold or marketed;

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