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
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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 johnnylongprong March 08, 2009
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An ingenious engine design which avoids the reciprocal motion of the piston engine and manages to incorporate the suck, squeeze, bang, blow of internal combustion engines into a rotating piston.

Not a torture device of any kind.
The Wankel rotary engine is far more efficient than the latest hybrid cars, but nobody will buy one because it sounds too much like "wanker".
by Mr. Cardboard October 30, 2011
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Essentially a portable hand grenade. The apex seals are like pins of a hand grenade attached to a Schrödinger's cat resulting in an engine that it is in 2 states of reality; both working and exploded at the same time.
- Man, did you heard about the RX-9 rumors saying it will come with a mazda rotary engine?
- Yeah, can't wait until it blows up at the mall!
by St0RM53 November 25, 2016
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A torture device once used as a punishment for those who have commited a crime. It fits onto one's penis or vagina, and then is twisted, via a motor, to violently to cause aggonizing pain.
It's a torture device, does it really need an example?
by Jacob Stilleti May 03, 2005
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