Bristol Centaurus
Description

The Centaurus was the final development of the Bristol Engine Company's series of sleeve valve radial aircraft engines, an 18-cylinder, two-row design that eventually delivered over 3,000áhp (2,200ákW). It was one of the largest piston aircraft engines to enter production, and was introduced into service use towards the end of World War II. The Centaurus had a cylinder capacity of 3,270 in│ (53.6ál), making it one of the largest piston aircraft engines to enter production, while that of the Hercules was 2,364 cubic inches (38.7ál). The nearly 40% higher capacity was achieved by increasing the stroke from 6.5 to 7 in (170 to 180 mm), and by changing to two rows of nine cylinders instead of two rows of seven.

General characteristics

  • Type: 18-cylinder, air-cooled, two-row radial engine
  • Bore: 5.75 in (146 mm)
  • Stroke: 7 in (177 mm)
  • Displacement: 3,270 in│ (53.6 l)
  • Diameter: 55.3 in (1,405 mm)
  • Dry weight: 2,695 lb (1,223 kg)

Performance

  • Power output: 2,520 hp (1,880 kW) at 2,700 rpm
  • Specific power: 0.77 hp/in│ (35.1 kW/l)
  • Compression ratio: 7.2:1
  • Power-to-weight ratio: 0.94 hp/lb (1.54 kW/kg)

Components

  • Valvetrain: Sleeve valve, four ports per sleeve
  • Supercharger: Two-speed centrifugal, single stage
  • Fuel system: Injection
  • Fuel type: 100/130 Octane petrol
  • Oil system: Direct-pressure lubrication