Lesson 4, Topic 5
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Four-Stroke Engine

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The four-stroke internal combustion engine (also known as the Otto cycle, named after Nikolaus Otto) is the most common type used in automobiles. In a four-stroke engine the piston makes reciprocating (back and forth or up and down) movements to convert the chemical energy of fuel into mechanical energy of motion (kinetic energy).

Spark Ignition

Spark ignition (SI) engines are fueled by gasoline, propane, natural gas, or a gasoline/alcohol blend. A spark plug ignites the air-fuel mixture. The four-strokes of the spark ignition engine are intake, compression, power (combustion), and exhaust. To complete the four strokes, the crankshaft makes two revolutions.

Four Stroke Spark Ignition Engine

Compression Ignition

Compression ignition (CI) engines are fueled by diesel. The four strokes of the compression ignition engine are similar to the spark ignition engine, except fuel is not mixed with air in the intake system. Instead diesel is injected directly into the combustion chamber or indirectly into a swirl (precombustion) chamber. Once in the combustion chamber, the diesel combusts spontaneously from the high pressure and heat. CI engines do not use spark plugs.

Figure 1.12 Four-Stroke Compression Ignition (Direct Injection Diesel)

For efficient combustion to occur in an internal combustion engine (ICE), there needs to be the correct air-fuel mixture, sufficient compression, and an ignition source (heat or spark). These three things must function properly to achieve engine efficiency and minimize emissions.

Internal Combustion Engine Requirements Triangle
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