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Automobile Engine

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Automobile Engine, how does an engine work
Automotive production down the ages has required a wide range of energy-conversion systems. These include electric, steam, solar, turbine, rotary, and different types of piston-type internal combustion engines. The reciprocating-piston internal -combustion system, operating on a four-stroke cycle, has been the most successful for automobiles, while diesel engines are widely used for trucks and buses.

The gasoline engine was originally selected for the automobile due to its flexibility over a wide range of speeds. Also, the power developed for a given weight engine was reasonable; it could be produced by economical mass-production methods; and it used a readily available, moderately priced fuel--gasoline. Reliability, compact size, and range of operation later became important factors.

In today's world, there has been a growing emphasis on the pollution producing features of automotive power systems. This has created new interest in alternate power sources and internal-combustion engine refinements that were not economically feasible in prior years. Although a few limited-production battery-powered electric vehicles have appeared from time to time, they have not proved to be competitive owing to costs and operating characteristics. However, the gasoline engine, with its new emission-control devices to improve emission performance, has not yet been challenged significantly.

The first half of the twentieth century saw a trend to increase engine horsepower, particularly in the American models. Design changes incorporated all known methods of raising engine capacity, including increasing the pressure in the cylinders to improve efficiency, increasing the size of the engine, and increasing the speed at which power is generated. The higher forces and pressures created by these changes created engine vibration and size problems that led to stiffer, more compact engines with V and opposed cylinder layouts replacing longer straight-line arrangements. In passenger cars, V-8 layouts were adopted for all piston displacements greater than 250 cubic inches (4 litres).

Smaller cars brought about a return a to smaller engines, the four- and six-cylinder designs rated as low as 80 horsepower, compared with the standard-size V-8 of large cylinder bore and relatively short piston stroke with horsepower ratings in the range from 250 to 350.

The automobile engines from Europe had a bigger range, varying from 1to12 cylinders with corresponding differences in overall size, weight, piston displacement, and cylinder bores. Four cylinders and horsepower ratings from 19 to 120 was followed in a majority of the models. Several three-cylinder, two-stroke-cycle models were built while most engines had straight or in-line cylinders. There were several V-type models and horizontally opposed two- and four-cylinder makes too. Overhead camshafts were frequently employed. The smaller engines were commonly air-cooled and located at the rear of the vehicle; compression ratios were relatively low. The 1970s and '80s saw an increased interest in improved fuel economy which brought in a return to smaller V-6 and four-cylinder layouts, with as many as five valves per cylinder to improve efficiency.
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