What is Cylinder Head?

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Cylinder Head:

In an internal combustion engine, the cylinder head sits above the cylinders on top of the cylinder block. It closes at the top of the cylinder, forming the combustion chamber. This joint is sealed by a gasket. In most engines, the top also provides space for the passages that feed air and fuel to the cylinder, which allows the exhaust to flee. The head can even be an area to mount the valves, spark plugs, and fuel injectors.



Internally, the cylinder head has passages called ports or tracts for the fuel/air mixture to travel the inlet valves from the manifold, and for exhaust gases to travel from the exhaust valves to the manifold. In a water-cooled engine, the cylinder head also contains integral ducts and passages for the engines’ coolant—usually a combination of water and antifreeze—to facilitate the transfer of excess heat off from the top, and so the engine normally.

In the overhead valve (OHV) design, the cylinder head contains the poppet valves and the spark plugs, together with tracts or ‘ports’ for the inlet and exhaust gases. The operation of the valves is initiated by the engine’s camshaft, which is sited in the cylinder block, and its moment of operation is transmitted to the valves’ pushrods, and so rocker arms mounted on a rocker shaft—the rocker arms and shaft also being located within the cylinder head.

In the overhead camshaft (OHC) design, the cylinder head contains the valves, spark plugs, and inlet/exhaust tracts rather like the OHV engine, but the camshaft is now also contained within the cylinder head. The camshaft is also seated centrally between each offset row of inlet and exhaust valves, and still also utilizing rocker arms (but with no pushrods), or the camshaft is also seated directly above the valves eliminating the rocker arms and utilizing ‘bucket’ tappets.

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