See Through Engine in Super Slow Motion
12 August 2018
It can be tough to visualize the inner workings of an internal combustion engine.
It's not really our fault that we don't know how awesome these underrated marvels of technology actually are - they're tucked away under the hood, and all the incredible chemistry going on is concealed by that big metal casing. But what if you had a piston engine with a clear cylinder head that lets you see everything?
It’s easy to take the internal combustion engine for granted since they are so prevalent. Without the ingenious design, the vast majority of vehicles on the road wouldn’t go anywhere, though.
The host from the Warped Perception channel fits a transparent top to a Briggs and Stratton single-cylinder flathead engine. The old-school design puts the valves beside the cylinder; hence sidevalve is another name for this layout. The structure means that from the top of the powerplant you can see the strokes of the cylinder and watch the valves in operation. While simple by modern standards, flatheads were the backbone of early motoring because they were easier to build and could better cope with the poor quality fuel of the time.
After showing off how traditional gasoline combusts in the engine, The host of Warped Perception moves to different forms of fuel. The host then switches to rubbing alcohol, and it makes a huge difference. The spark plug can’t fully ignite the mixture, and the cylinder begins to fill with liquid. There’s still just enough combustion for the piston to keep moving, though.
The coolest thing is seeing how little gasoline is sprayed into the engine during the intake stroke. It almost looks like an accident. Compare that to later in the video, when Mikkas trades gasoline for rubbing alcohol. The stuff seemingly floods the cylinder, yet the engine runs just fine.
INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE
An internal combustion engine (ICE) is a heat engine where the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer (usually air) in a combustion chamber that is an integral part of the working fluid flow circuit. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high-pressure gases produced by combustion applies direct force to some component of the engine. The force is applied typically to pistons, turbine blades, rotor or a nozzle. This force moves the component over a distance, transforming chemical energy into useful mechanical energy.
The first commercially successful internal combustion engine was created by Étienne Lenoir around 1859 and the first modern internal combustion engine was created in 1876 by Nikolaus Otto (see Otto engine).
The term internal combustion engine usually refers to an engine in which combustion is intermittent, such as the more familiar four-stroke and two-stroke piston engines, along with variants, such as the six-stroke piston engine and the Wankel rotary engine. A second class of internal combustion engines use continuous combustion: gas turbines, jet engines and most rocket engines, each of which are internal combustion engines on the same principle as previously described. Firearms are also a form of internal combustion engine.
In contrast, in external combustion engines, such as steam or Stirling engines, energy is delivered to a working fluid not consisting of, mixed with, or contaminated by combustion products. Working fluids can be air, hot water, pressurized water or even liquid sodium, heated in a boiler. ICEs are usually powered by energy-dense fuels such as gasoline or diesel, liquids derived from fossil fuels. While there are many stationary applications, most ICEs are used in mobile applications and are the dominant power supply for vehicles such as cars, aircraft, and boats.
Typically an ICE is fed with fossil fuels like natural gas or petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel fuel or fuel oil. There is a growing usage of renewable fuels like biodiesel for compression ignition engines and bioethanol or methanol for spark ignition engines. Hydrogen is sometimes used, and can be obtained from either fossil fuels or renewable energy.
|Written by: Laura Cozzo|