Internal Combustion Engine, a heat engine in which the fuel is burned (
that is, united with oxygen ) within the confining space of the engine itself.
This burning process releases large amounts of energy, which are transformed
into work through the mechanism of the engine. This type of engine different
from the steam engine, which process with an external combustion engine that
fuel burned apart from the engine. The principal types of internal combustion
engine are : reciprocating engine such as Otto-engine, and Diesel engines ; and
rotary engines, such as the Wankel engine and the Gas-turbine engine.
In general, the internal combustion engine has become the means of
propulsion in the transportation field, with the exception of large ships
requiring over 4,000 shaft horsepower ( hp).
In stationary applications, size of unit and local factor often
determine the choice between the use of steam and diesel engine.
plants have a distinct economic advantage over steam engine when size of the
plant is under about 1,000 hp. However there are many diesel engine plants much
large than this. Internal combustion engines are particularly appropriate for
seasonal industries, because of the small standby losses with these engines
during the shutdown period.
The first experimental internal combustion engine was made by a Dutch
astronomer, Christian Huygens, who, in 1680, applied a principle advanced by
Jean de Hautefeuille in 1678 for drawing water. This principle was based on the
fact that the explosion of a small amount of gunpowder in a closed chamber
provided with escape valves would create a vacuum when the gases of combustion
cooled. Huygens, using a cylinder containing a piston, was able to move it in
this manner by the external atmospheric pressure.
The first commercially practical internal combustion engine was built by...