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How does a car engine work


A car engine is an intricate piece of machinery designed to convert fuel into mechanical energy, which powers the vehicle's movement. The most common type of car engine is the internal combustion engine, specifically the four-stroke gasoline engine. Here's a simplified explanation of how it works:

  1. Intake Stroke: The process begins with the intake stroke. The engine's piston moves down the cylinder, creating a low-pressure area. The intake valve opens, allowing a mixture of air and fuel to be drawn into the cylinder from the intake manifold.

  2. Compression Stroke: The piston then moves back up the cylinder, compressing the air-fuel mixture. Both the intake and exhaust valves are closed during this phase. The compression of the mixture increases its pressure and temperature, which prepares it for combustion.

  3. Combustion Stroke: At the top of the compression stroke, a spark plug ignites the compressed air-fuel mixture. This ignition causes a controlled explosion that rapidly releases a significant amount of energy in the form of expanding gases. This sudden expansion forces the piston down the cylinder, turning the crankshaft.

  4. Power Stroke: As the piston moves down due to the force of the expanding gases, it turns the crankshaft, which converts the linear motion of the piston into rotational motion. This is the stroke where the engine produces its power, which is then transferred to the vehicle's transmission system.

  5. Exhaust Stroke: After the power stroke, the exhaust valve opens, and the piston moves back up the cylinder again. This movement pushes the burnt gases (exhaust) out of the cylinder and into the exhaust manifold, which leads to the exhaust system and eventually exits through the tailpipe.

The four-stroke cycle then repeats, with each cylinder in the engine going through these stages in a specific sequence. Modern car engines usually have multiple cylinders that fire in a coordinated pattern to ensure a smooth and continuous power delivery.

Keep in mind that there are other types of engines as well, such as diesel engines, which operate on a similar principle but differ in terms of fuel ignition and combustion characteristics. Electric vehicles use electric motors instead of internal combustion engines, relying on stored electrical energy to drive the vehicle.

Overall, a car engine is a complex system that relies on precise timing, fuel-air mixture management, and mechanical components working together to convert fuel into the mechanical energy needed to propel the vehicle.