An internal combustion engine (ICE) is a heat engine. Its principle of operation is that a mixture of fuel and air, when ignited, releases a large amount of heat.
An internal combustion engine is a heat engine that converts the released energy of gases into useful mechanical work. The operation of the internal combustion engine is based on the combustion of fuel inside a special working chamber (cylinder). The emitted combustion products expand rapidly and create strong pressure on the piston.
Today, ICE is the main type of power plant, which is used as an automobile engine and an engine for scooters and motorcycles, lightships and aircraft, agricultural and other equipment.
It is customary to distinguish between several main types of internal combustion engines:
- rotary piston (rotary Wankel engine);
- gas turbine;
Among all the types of internal combustion engines presented, the most widely used is a piston engine. The main advantage was the wide area of its potential use.
The piston internal combustion engine is an autonomous and versatile unit. Among the distinctive features are noted: low cost, compactness, lightweight and dimensions, quick start-up and the ability to use various fuel types.
The internal combustion engine also has several serious drawbacks: increased noise and vibration levels, the toxicity of exhaust gases, the low service life of a piston internal combustion engine, and low efficiency.
The piston internal combustion engine works cyclically; the working cycles are divided into strokes. There are two and four-stroke engines. One working cycle of a four-stroke engine is equal to two revolutions of the crankshaft and includes the cycles: intake, compression, working stroke, exhaust. During the intake and working stroke, the piston in the cylinder moves downward; during the compression and exhaust stroke, it moves upward. In two-stroke internal combustion engines, a full working cycle is performed in compression and working strokes.
Internal combustion engines also differ in the types of fuel used. The vast majority of internal combustion engines run on gasoline or diesel fuel. Alternative fuels for internal combustion engines include natural gas, methanol and ethanol (alcohol fuels), and hydrogen.« Back to Glossary Index