Sunday, 13 May 2012

How do Engines Work?

An engine consists of a solid cylinder called a piston. The piston slides up and down a smooth and hollow cylinder which has an air tight lid called a cylinder head. The cylinder head contains valve that let the fuel in and exhaust out. It also contains a spark plug that is used to ignite the fuel for petrol engine. For a diesel engine, the fuel gets ignited on its own because of the heat due to compression.

When the fuel burns it expands and pushes the piston down. The piston is attached to a crank. This crank converts the up and down motion of the piston into turning motion which turns the wheels.

Vehicles contain a small but powerful electric motor called the starter. The starter is connected to the engine. The starter turns the engine when the vehicle’s ignition key is turned. Then the fuel and air are drowned into the cylinder. The spark plug then ignites the fuel and thus starts the engine. Once the engine gets started it keeps running on its own and the starter is turn off.

The battery provides the electricity for the starter which is charged by the current that comes from the dynamo or alternator. The dynamo generates the electricity when its shaft is turned by the engine of the car. Thus, it is clear that the electrical energy that is required to turn the starter motor so as to start the engine is actually provided by the engine itself.

Two wheelers like scooters and motorcycles do not have a starter that runs on battery. For such vehicles, a kick starter is used which turn the engine and get things moving.

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