What is an internal combustion engine and how does it work? – Pilot Dixon
Cars are a staple in society. They help us get to work, pick up the kids from school and go on vacation. But how do they work? Most people don’t know that, and that’s perfectly fine.
In this blog post, we’ll look at the most common engine found in cars today: the internal combustion engine. Let’s see what internal combustion engines are and how it works.
How an internal combustion engine works
An internal combustion engine (ICE) is a heat engine where combustion – the process of burning fuel – occurs in the engine. This process is contrasted with an external combustion engine (ECE), such as a steam locomotive, where the heat of combustion comes from an external source.
ICEs generally use fossil fuels such as gasoline or diesel, but can also be powered by other substances such as alcohol or peanut oil!
ICEs convert the chemical energy of fuel into mechanical energy, which powers the wheels of the car. We can summarize the process with the following steps:
- Fuel is mixed with air and drawn into the cylinders by the pistons.
- The candle ignites the mixture and causes combustion.
- The expanding gases push against the piston, causing it to move.
- The crankshaft translates the movement of the pistons into rotational force.
- The rotational force propels the wheels of the car through the transmission.
- The exhaust gases pass through the exhaust system.
The beauty of ICEs
ICEs are relatively simple machines that have been around for over 100 years. However, they are still considered one of mankind’s greatest inventions.
Their simplicity means they are relatively easy and cheap to mass-produce, which has contributed to their widespread use in transportation. ICEs are also very versatile; they can power anything from lawn mowers to jet planes!
Internal combustion engines are fascinating machines that have helped shape our world today. Compared to turbine and piston aircraft engines, they are smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient. These advantages make them ideal for use in automobiles.
The next time you get in your car, take a moment to reflect on the complex process that takes place under the hood. You will be impressed by how these humble machines have shaped our world.