How the modern combustion engine works.

Engine Diagram

The basics

The modern combustion engine has come a very far way, and has evolved even more. First off, the engines main job is to create energy which is transferred through a series of components to the transmission which then converts that energy into rotational energy and applies it to the wheels propelling the car or truck forward.  

Where does the energy start?

To begin our cycle, the car has to start right?  RIGHT!  So, I guess you should jump in, put the key in the switch and start the car.  Simple enough, right?  Well, actually there is a lot happening when you rotate that key in the switch.  

Basic ignition diagram.

When you turn the key, a signal is sent from the dash-mounted switch to the starter motor.  The starter motor will then "turn the engine over."  This means that the starter motor will turn the crankshaft.  When it turns over the crankshaft it will in turn move the pistons inside their cylinders.  This starts the very beginning of the cycle.  Next fuel and air are drawn into the engine and are then compressed and the spark plugs will fire, great!  Now the engine is running, now lets talk about what actually allows the engine to maintain this.  

Inside the cylinder

The inside of an engine is the most interesting to learn about, especially how a piston will make its rotation and keep the engine running.  

Learning the ropes of the cylinder and all the actions that take place.

The engine cylinder consists of several components that work together to make the engine run.  There is the cylinder, which houses the piston.  The piston is connected to a connector rod that will connect the piston to the crankshaft.  Above the piston are a few different things.  First off there is the spark plug which ignites and will "combust" the air and fuel inside the cylinder.  The last three things to learn about is the camshaft, intake valves, and exhaust valves.  When the piston is going down for the first time in its cycle, the intake valve(s) will open and allow the air and fuel mixture into the cylinder.  The valves are controlled by the camshaft which has several small protruding type things on it known as lobes which will open and close the valves.  The camshaft will then close the intake valves, the crankshaft will turn back around and push the piston up, compressing the fuel, once at the top the spark plug will ignite causing an explosion that pushes the piston back down.  The next time the piston makes its way to the top, the exhaust valves will open and the piston will push the exhaust out of the head and into the exhaust manifold.  Engines have multiple cylinders so they can "take turns" combusting and will offset the explosion part and hopefully make the engine shake less.  That is the basics of how the engine works.  Thank you all for reading! 

How Cars Work
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