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How An Internal Cumbustion Engine Works

2836 words - 11 pages

IntroductionInternal Combustion Engine, a heat engine in which the fuel is burned (that is, united with oxygen ) within the confining space of the engine itself.This burning process releases large amounts of energy, which are transformedinto work through the mechanism of the engine. This type of engine differentfrom the steam engine, which process with an external combustion engine thatfuel burned apart from the engine. The principal types of internal combustionengine are : reciprocating engine such as Otto-engine, and Diesel engines ; androtary engines, such as the Wankel engine and the Gas-turbine engine.In general, the internal combustion engine has become the means ofpropulsion in the transportation field, with the exception of large shipsrequiring over 4,000 shaft horsepower ( hp).In stationary applications, size of unit and local factor oftendetermine the choice between the use of steam and diesel engine. Diesel powerplants have a distinct economic advantage over steam engine when size of theplant is under about 1,000 hp. However there are many diesel engine plants muchlarge than this. Internal combustion engines are particularly appropriate forseasonal industries, because of the small standby losses with these enginesduring the shutdown period.HistoryThe first experimental internal combustion engine was made by a Dutchastronomer, Christian Huygens, who, in 1680, applied a principle advanced byJean de Hautefeuille in 1678 for drawing water. This principle was based on thefact that the explosion of a small amount of gunpowder in a closed chamberprovided with escape valves would create a vacuum when the gases of combustioncooled. Huygens, using a cylinder containing a piston, was able to move it inthis manner by the external atmospheric pressure.The first commercially practical internal combustion engine was built bya French engineer, ( Jean Joseph ) Etienne Lenoir, about 1859-1860. It usedilluminating gas as fuel. Two years later, Alphonse Beau de Rochas enunciatedthe principles of the four-stroke cycle, but Nickolaus August Otto built thefirst successful engine ( 1876 ) operating on this principle.Reciprocating EngineComponents of EnginesThe essential parts of Otto-cycle and diesel engines are the same. Thecombustion chamber consists of a cylinder, usually fixed, which is closed at oneend and in which a close-fitting piston slides. The in-and-out motion of thepiston varies the volume of the chamber between the inner face of the piston andthe closed end of the cylinder. The outer face of the piston is attached to acrankshaft by a connecting rod. The crankshaft transforms the reciprocatingmotion of the piston into rotary motion. In multi-cylindered engines thecrankshaft has one offset portion, called a crankpin, for each connecting rod,so that the power from each cylinder is applied to the crankshaft at theappropriate point in its rotation. Crankshafts have heavy flywheels andcounterweights, which by their inertia minimize irregularity in the...

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