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Have you ever wondered what is going on with the engine under the hood of your car? Everyone knows that fuel and air goes in the intake system, but how does a liquid get converted to energy that can move a car? It’s basically heat energy that makes this possible. That is why they used to be called heat engines.

Your engine is a finely engineered work of art. It takes in a specific amount of air and fuel and ignites the fuel. This energy is then harnessed to make the car move. This is why automobile engines are called ‘internal combustion’ engines — ‘combustion’ is a fancy name for ‘burning’. There are other types of internal combustion engines like the jet engine, but they differ in some ways to the automobile engine. One significant difference is the fact that combustion is continuous in a jet engine, whereas in a car engine, it occurs for a fraction of the total time the engine is running.

Scientists and chemists have done plenty of research and development to find the right proportion of air to fuel in the mixture that is used for combustion, and have come up with the figures that suit each vehicle for a mixture of air and petrol.

The most common engine type in automobiles is the ‘four-stroke’ engine. The other type is ‘two-stroke’.

Two-stroke engines have been discarded by manufacturers for the most part because their emissions are high — if you remember an old Yamaha RX100 or RD350, or your chainsaw or weed-eater, you’ll remember the blue smoke their exhaust pipes used to emit.

Users of small engines still prefer the two-stroke layout because it offers more power and less maintenance compared to a four-stroke engine. This is also why ships use two-stroke diesel engines. Two-strokers might just make a comeback, though, with advancements in technology that will allow them to meet ever-tightening emission norms.

Four-stroke engines are so named because they perform four steps: intake, compression, combustion and exhaust, over and over. The intake stroke sucks air and fuel into the cylinder, the mixture is then squeezed to a really small size and high temperature in the compression stroke, the combustion stroke burns this mixture, and what’s left over is then thrown out in the exhaust stroke.

The automobile engine is a complex piece of machinery, in the course of searching for an engine or information on engines, take advantage of our blog and sign up for free. Our goal at GotEngines.com is to provide information on engine repairs and engine replacement, in terms you understand. Don’t be shy, if you have a question or comment, leave it in the comment box below.

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