A type of internal combustion engine consisting of a triangular rotor which rotates in an eccentric orbital motion around a epitrochoid housing. Advantages of this design are a compact size, mechanical simplicity (a two rotor engine has only three moving parts), high potential power output proportional to size, lightweight, high-revving and extremely smooth in operation. Disadvantages include high rate of fuel and oil consumption, complex sealing arrangement and high seal count, weak torque, more fragile than a four-stroke piston engine, and lower long term reliability. Also known as a Wankel engine (pronounced 'Vonkel') after it's inventor, Dr Felix Wankel.
Mazda's RX-7 is probably the best example of a car employing a rotary engine.
by Beavis II March 08, 2009
Top Definition
To correct all of those that don't know, the rotary engine is an engine that was thought of by Dr. Felix Wankel when he was 17 and he made the first prototype of this type of engine, but sadly never perfected it (he never got rid of the chatter marks). Once Mazda got a hold of it and started working on it they perfected the engine, getting rid of the chatter marks and adding a second rotor because at low rpms a single rotor became erratic and had torque fluctuations. Also, the rotor is not shaped like a dorito, it's closer to one of those old 3d doritos (if you remember those) because it is an equilateral triangle with exploded sides.
You should do some research before claiming you know about the rotary engine.
by snoopay700 November 21, 2006
Contrary to popular belief, it was not "thought of by Felix Wankel when he was 17". It was developed in the late 1800's before his birth (in 1902).

Used mainly in aircraft, it essentially is a conventional piston-driven internal combustion engine, with the pistons set radially around the center crankshaft. The difference is that the whole engine block rotates around the crankshaft, rather than the pistons turning the crankshaft.
The pistonless rotary engine, as produced by Mazda, was initially designed by Felix Wankel as others describe, yes, but putting his name on all rotary engines is like saying that all watermelons are seedless.
You should do some ACTUAL research before claiming you know about the rotary engine.
by Epsilon Rho Tau Omega March 23, 2010
The Balls
Man did you see that? it must be a rotary engine it had the balls!
by Cleathy November 30, 2009

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