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Eric Gorr's Performance Forum
An Overview of Basic Principles and Processes
By Eric Gorr

The process of cylinder porting is a funny paradox. The people in the market to buy it are looking for information and the people in the market of selling it are hiding information on porting. So much myth and misinformation is associated with this complex machining and metal finishing process. Yet the tooling is easily available and the design of the ports is actually quite straightforward with resources like computer design programs. This article is an overview of how porting is performed and how it can benefit your performance demands.

Two-Stroke Principles

Although a two-stroke engine has fewer moving parts than a four-stroke engine, a two-stroke is a complex engine with different phases taking place in the crankcase and in the cylinder bore at the same time. This is necessary because a two-stroke engine completes a power cycle in only 360 degrees of crankshaft rotation, compared to a four-stroke engine, which requires 720 degrees of crankshaft rotation to complete one power cycle. Two-stroke engines aren't as efficient as four-stroke engines, meaning that they don't retain as much air as they draw in through the intake. Some of the air is lost out the exhaust pipe. If a two-stroke engine could retain the same percentage of air, they would be twice as powerful as a four-stroke engine because they produce twice as many power strokes in the same number of crankshaft revolutions. The following is an explanation of the basic operation of the two-stroke engine.

  • 1. Starting with the piston at top dead center (TDC 0 degrees) ignition has occurred and the gasses in the combustion chamber are expanding and pushing down the piston. This pressurizes the crankcase causing the reed valve to close. At about 90 degrees after TDC the exhaust port opens ending the power stroke. A pressure wave of hot expanding gasses flows down the exhaust pipe. The blow-down phase has started and will end when the transfer ports open. The pressure in the cylinder must blow-down to below the pressure in the crankcase in order for the unburned mixture gasses to flow out the transfer ports during the scavenging phase.
  • 2.Now the transfer ports are uncovered at about 120 degrees after TDC. The scavenging phase has begun. Meaning that the unburned mixture gasses are flowing out of the transfers and merging together to form a loop. The gasses travel up the backside of the cylinder and loops around in the cylinder head to scavenge out the burnt mixture gasses from the previous power stroke. It is critical that the burnt gasses are scavenged from the combustion chamber, to make room for as much unburned gasses as possible. That is the key to making more power in a two-stroke engine. The more unburned gasses you can squeeze into the combustion chamber, the more the engine will produce. Now the loop of unburned mixture gasses have traveled into the exhaust pipe's header section. Most of the gasses aren't lost because a compression pressure wave has reflected from the baffle cone of the exhaust pipe, to pack the unburned gasses back into the cylinder before the piston closes off the exhaust port.
  • 3. Now the crankshaft has rotated past bottom dead center (BDC 180 degrees) and the piston is on the upstroke. The compression wave reflected from the exhaust pipe is packing the unburned gasses back in through the exhaust port as the piston closes off the port the start the compression phase. In the crankcase the pressure is below atmospheric producing a vacuum and a fresh charge of unburned mixture gasses is flowing through the reed valve into the crankcase.
  • 4. The unburned mixture gasses are compresses and just before the piston reaches TDC, the ignition system discharges a spark causing the gasses to ignite and start the process all over again.

What is Porting?
Porting is a metal finishing process performed to the passageways of a two-stroke cylinder and crankcases, that serves to match the surface texture, shapes and sizes of port ducts, and the timing and angle aspects of the port windows that interface with the cylinder bore. The port windows determine the opening and closing timing of the intake, exhaust, blowdown, and transfer phases that take place in the cylinder. These phases must be coordinated to work with other engine components such as the intake and exhaust system. The intake and exhaust systems are designed to take advantage of the finite amplitude waves that travel back and forth from the atmosphere. Porting coordinates the opening of the intake, exhaust, and transfer ports to maximize the tuning affect of the exhaust pipe and intake system. Generally speaking porting for more mid-range acceleration is intended for use with stock intake and exhaust systems.

Continues with  [ Terminology ]


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