The Barsanti-Matteucci engine was an internal combustion engine
using the free-piston principle in an atmospheric two cycle engine.
In late 1851 or early 1852 Eugenio Barsanti
, a professor of mathematics
, and Felice Matteucci
, an engineer
and expert in mechanics
, joined forces on a project to exploit the explosion
of a gaseous mix of hydrogen
and atmospheric air to transform part of the energy of such explosions into mechanical energy
The idea originated almost ten years earlier with Barsanti when, as a young man, he was teaching at St. Michael's College in Volterra
, Italy. An engineer from Milan
Italy, Luigi de Cristoforis, described in a paper published in the acts of the Lombard Royal Institute of Science, Literature and Art, a pneumatic machine (later built and shown to work) that ran on naphtha
and an air mixture, and which constituted the first liquid fuel engine.
During the twelve years of collaboration between Barsanti and Matteucci several prototypes of internal combustion engine
s were realized. It was the first real internal combustion engine, constituted in its simplest realization by a vertical cylinder in which an explosion of a mixture of air
or an illuminating gas
shot a piston
upwards thereby creating a vacuum
in the space underneath. When the piston returned to its original position, due to the action of the atmospheric pressure
, it turned a toothed rod connected to a sprocket
wheel and transmitted movement to the driving shaft.
s were obtained by the two inventor
s: the 1854 English
and Piedmont patents, the 1861 Piedmont patent of Barsanti, Matteucci and Babacci which was then used as a base to construct the engine of the Escher Wyss
company of Zurich
and put on exhibit during the first National Expo of Florence in 1861, and the 1861 English patent.
History of the Barsanti-Matteucci engine
Category:History of technology
Category:Internal combustion engine