The Evolution Of The Internal Combustion Engine

1620 words - 6 pages

From the mid-1800s to today, the internal combustion engine is becoming more and more complex. From minor improvements, to total reconstruction; the internal combustion engine has changed greatly, and is still changing. By the 3000s, who knows what possibilities will await, but for one to understand the evolution of the internal combustion engine, they must be knowledgeable of the history, present, and future.
What is internal combustion? Internal combustion is the process of internally burning gasoline to produce forward motion. There are two different types of internal combustion engines. The diesel engine is one and the gas turbine engine is the other. The gas turbine engine is the most commonly used engine in the automobile industry. The principle behind internal combustion is simple. If you put a small amount of fuel, such as gasoline, in a small enclosed space and ignite it, an extreme amount of energy is released. This energy is released in the form of expanding gas (“Internal Combustion”2).
The internal combustion engine was invented in 1860 by a Belgian man named Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir. Lenoir built the first gas powered internal combustion engine that provided a reliable and continuous source of power. Although the engine was powered by gas, it was not gasoline. The engine was fueled by coal gas. The first practical internal combustion engine was based on the experience from the production of steam engines. It was a single cylinder engine, and had slide valves that were used to draw in the air/fuel mixture. The engine was also double acting. This means that the air/fuel mixture was fed into the cylinder alternately from either end of the piston. Then the spark plug ignites the mixture. The engine was a great achievement, but there were many issues; one issue being that it was terribly unreliable, because of this, many improvements were made by later pioneers. A result of this has been the development of many new engines. These engines were the two-stroke engine, the four-stroke engine, and the petrol engine. A man from Austria named Siegfried Marcus created an engine that ran on petrol in 1864 (“The Internal Combustion Engine”1).
Almost all cars currently use what is called a four-stroke combustion cycle to convert gasoline into energy. The four-stroke cycle is also known as the Otto cycle, which is named after Nikolaus Otto, who invented it in 1867. The Otto cycle consists of four strokes, hence the name four-stroke process. The first step of the four-stroke process is the intake stroke. During the intake stroke the piston begins at the top of the cylinder. The intake valve then opens, and the piston moves down to let the cylinder take in the air/gasoline mixture. Only a small amount of gasoline is needed for this. The second stroke is called the compression stroke. During this stroke the piston moves back up the cylinder to compress the air/gasoline mixture. Compression makes the explosion after ignition more powerful. Also, the...

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