AutoDiscover how a car engine works

Discover how a car engine works

Have you ever wondered how your car works? Yes, we know that you are clear that the vehicle moves thanks to the force coming from the fuel that makes the wheels turn and, as a consequence, that the car moves. So far, everything is clear. The questions begin to arise the moment we ask ourselves how that element that we find under the hood , the engine, works. After reading this article, you will have no doubts about it.

Different objectives

The first thing to know is that internal combustion engines can use two types of fuel during the process of conversion into energy. In gasoline engines, the objective is to convert the heat produced by the gasoline explosion into a movement that will be responsible for moving the wheels; whereas in diesel engines, the goal is to generate force through combustion.

Be that as it may and first of all, we must know the basic parts of the engine in order to understand what role they have in the combustion process. The engine block differs from the cylinder head by being the lower part and the heaviest part. This part, in turn, contains the crankshaft, which is responsible for converting the linear and reciprocating movement of the pistons into a rotary movement. Instead, the cylinder head is in charge of controlling which valves – either the intake valve, which lets the air-fuel mixture pass into the cylinders; or exhaust, which helps the gases to escape after combustion – must be opened and closed at all times.

A complicated process, but fast

So the first thing that happens in a gasoline engine is that the intake valve opens, allowing the cylinder to fill with fuel and air. After this first phase, the cylinder pushes the mixture and compresses it under high pressure, which translates into an improvement in the explosion due to the large increase in temperature. Then, when the spark from the spark plug jumps, the mixture explodes, pushing the piston down. Finally, the gases resulting from the explosion are expelled through the exhaust valve. However, although it is a complicated process, it happens thousands of times per minute, transforming the energy from the multiple explosions into the final force that moves the wheels and allows the car to move.

Diesel engines go through the same phases – except for the explosion phase, which becomes combustion in this case. In other words, the air is filled first through the intake valve, which ends up closing when the piston reaches the bottom dead center and begins its journey to the top, while the temperature rises significantly. The fuel is then sprayed by the injector, which immediately ignites when it comes into contact with the hot air. And finally, the pressure generated by the temperature will drive the piston down hard; while the burned gases are expelled so that the cycle starts all over again.

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