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Diagram showing the operation of a 4-stroke SI engine
Main article: 4-stroke engine
Diagram showing the operation of a 4-stroke SI engine. Labels:
1 ? Induction
2 ? Compression
3 ? Power
4 ? Exhaust
The top dead center (TDC) of a piston is the position where it is nearest to the valves; bottom dead center (BDC) is the opposite position where it is furthest from them. A stroke is the movement of a piston from TDC to BDC or vice versa together with the associated process. While an engine is in operation the crankshaft rotates continuously at a nearly constant speed. In a 4-stroke ICE each piston experiences 2 strokes per crankshaft revolution in the following order. Starting the description at TDC, these are:78
Most truck and automotive diesel engines
Main article: Diesel cycle
P-v Diagram for the Ideal Diesel cycle. The cycle follows the numbers 1?4 in clockwise direction.
Most truck and automotive diesel engines use a cycle reminiscent of a four-stroke cycle, but with a compression heating ignition system, rather than needing a separate ignition system. This variation is called the diesel cycle. In the diesel cycle, diesel fuel is injected directly into the cylinder so that combustion occurs at constant pressure, as the piston moves.
Otto cycle: Otto cycle is the typical cycle for most of the cars internal combustion engines, that work using gasoline as a fuel. Otto cycle is exactly the same one that was described for the four-stroke engine. It consists of the same four major steps: Intake, compression, ignition and exhaust.
PV diagram for Otto cycle On the PV-diagram, 1?2: Intake: suction stroke 2?3: Isentropic Compression stroke 3?4: Heat addition stroke 4?5: Exhaust stroke (Isentropic expansion) 5?2: Heat rejection The distance between points 1?2 is the stroke of the engine. By dividing V2/V1, we get: r, where r is called the compression ratio of the engine.
Reciprocating piston engines are by far the most common power source for land and water vehicles, including automobiles, motorcycles, ships and to a lesser extent, locomotives (some are electrical but most use Diesel engines45). Rotary engines of the Wankel design are used in some automobiles, aircraft and motorcycles.
Where very high power-to-weight ratios are required, internal combustion engines appear in the form of combustion turbines or Wankel engines. Powered aircraft typically uses an ICE which may be a reciprocating engine. Airplanes can instead use jet engines and helicopters can instead employ turboshafts; both of which are types of turbines. In addition to providing propulsion, airliners may employ a separate ICE as an auxiliary power unit. Wankel engines are fitted to many unmanned aerial vehicles.
Big Diesel generator used for backup power
Combined cycle power plant
ICEs drive some of the large electric generators that power electrical grids. They are found in the form of combustion turbines in combined cycle power plants with a typical electrical output in the range of 100 MW to 1 GW. The high temperature exhaust is used to boil and superheat water to run a steam turbine. Thus, the efficiency is higher because more energy is extracted from the fuel than what could be extracted by the combustion turbine alone. In combined cycle power plants efficiencies in the range of 50% to 60% are typical. In a smaller scale Diesel generators are used for backup power and for providing electrical power to areas not connected to an electric grid.
Small engines (usually 2?stroke gasoline engines) are a common power source for lawnmowers, string trimmers, chain saws, leafblowers, pressure washers, snowmobiles, jet skis, outboard motors, mopeds, and motorcycles.