What is Internal Combustion Engines?

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Internal Combustion Engines:

Internal combustion engines (IC engines) are pretty ubiquitous today. The facility cars, lawnmowers, helicopters, and so on. The largest IC engine can generate 109,000 HP to power a ship that moves 20,000 containers. IC engines derive energy from fuel burned inside a specialized area of the system called a combustion chamber. The method of combustion generates reaction products (exhaust) with a way greater total volume than that of the reactants combined (fuel and oxidizer). This expansion is that the actual bread and butter of IC engines. This is often what actually provides the motion. Heat is simply a byproduct of combustion and represents a wasted part of the fuel’s energy store because it doesn’t actually provide any physical work.


Types of IC Engines:

IC engines are differentiated by the amount of ‘strokes’ or cycles each piston makes for a full rotation of the crankshaft. Most typical today are four-stroke engines, which break down the combustion reaction in four steps:


  1. Induction or injection of a fuel-air mix (the carburate) into the combustion chamber.
  2. Compression of the combo.
  3. Ignition by a sparking plug or compression — fuel goes boom.
  4. Emission of the exhaust.


For every step, a 4-stroke piston is alternatively pushed down or duplicate. Ignition is that the only step where work is generated in the engine, so for all other steps, each piston relies on energy from external sources (the other pistons, an electrical starter, manual cranking, or the crankshaft’s inertia) to maneuver. That’s why you have got to tug the chord on your lawnmower, and why your car needs a working battery to begin running.

Other criteria for differentiating IC engines are the kind of fuel used, the number of cylinders, total displacement (internal volume of cylinders), distribution of cylinders (inline, radial, V-engines, etc.), addition as power and power-to-weight output.

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