Diesel engine.
Diesel cycle

Endothermic engine

Endothermic engine

Endothermic engine

The endothermic engine, also known as internal combustion engine. The main characteristic of this type of alternative engines is that through the laws of thermodynamics it is able to take advantage of the energy contained in the fuel to obtain a mechanical work.

The endothermic engine is a type of alternative engine by the way of converting chemical energy into mechanical energy. The most popular endothermic engines are the Otto engine or gasoline engine that operates according to the Otto cycle and the diesel engine, which operates according to the diesel cycle.

Meaning of the endothermic motor

Meaning in the strict sense of endothermic could be explained by "internal combustion", a definition that refers directly to its operating principle, basically, in this type of thermal engine we are transmitting two important elements that are air and fuel ( in particular, gasoline for the Otto engine, diesel for the diesel engine, LPG or alternative sources).

To better understand the operation in the strict sense, it is necessary to carry out a brief mechanical analysis. An automobile engine consists of several parts connected to each other, all of them involved in the generation of the rotation that, consequently, will allow the movement of the vehicle. We start from the top, where the first element to examine is the camshaft. The camshaft is a shaped metal shaft to which the reciprocating arms are connected and which they call rods.

The pistons are connected to the connecting rods by means of small hammer elements that perform their function inside the cylinders, where finally the combustion in question takes place. The fundamental principle of the endothermic engine is the air that is transported inside the cylinders. This operation causes the air to increase in pressure and temperature. The fuel, once in contact with the air at high temperature, will burn, generating the movement of the pistons. The movement of pistons will move the camshaft which, in essence, will ignite the engine. The fuels are different from each other, for simplicity of expositions we will limit ourselves to make the difference between two types:

  • Spontaneous combustion fuels: it is diesel, for the diesel engine, mainly, which does not require any intervention to initiate combustion.
  • Combustible combustion fuel: in this case the gas engine (or LPG), which on the other hand needs a source that causes the start of combustion.

Then, in general, it could be said that an Otto engine uses the spark plug system (which generates a spark) to be able to start and perform its function; Diesel engines, on the other hand, do not need this system; they burn the fuel without any intervention.

Combustion is a fundamental phenomenon for the operation of the endothermic engine. The first experimental tests of these thermal engines can be found at the end of 1800, precursors of what the car finally appeared, throughout its trajectory to the present. Another important element related to the operation of the internal combustion engine is the exhaust system. The dirty and used air must be transported to the outside through conduits that allow it to flow freely.

Over time it has been observed how the combustion gases are very harmful to the health of the air and the progress of urbanization has meant that this problem became very serious. In fact, today there is a kind of trend reversal in the search for those that are alternative solutions to traditional fuels, considered harmful both to the environment and to human health. An alternative to endothermic motors are electric motors. Electric motors and hybrid motors are becoming very popular in motorsports.

Efficiency of the endothermic engine

There are several factors that determine that an endothermic engine is efficient and has optimal performance. The factors to be analyzed are different. First, the phenomenon of cubing, the endothermic engines that have greater displacements tend to do more and provide superior performance compared to engines that have low hubs. But over time it has been understood that it is not only this factor that generates the performance but also the real development of power that the engine has.

The concept of power (HP or CV) is directly proportional to the amount of energy that the motor can generate. And here come into play different factors, almost all due to that kind of mystery for the profane that is the power of the engine. Numerous experiments in the course of time have led to several conclusions about factors related to nutrition, to the point that, in recent years, supercharged cars are presented as the highest performance. But overfeeding also means increasing consumption in many cases.

A reversal of tendency in this sense is given by the phenomenon of HiperCar, cars that exploit at the highest levels the power of the air to reach powers unthinkable until a few years ago. On the other hand, they are often prototypical cars that clearly have very high costs.

Alternative endothermic motor

Until a few decades ago the problem of air health was not considered so much, over time we have realized that traditional fossil fuels, seen as a panacea for more than 100 years, have considerable disadvantages from an ecological point of view. which contributes to the increase of the greenhouse effect. Here, the high degree of negativity of its possible depletion, because fossil energy is a type of non-renewable energy, is flanked by another negative side of considerable weight: oil-derived fuels pollute the air and cause numerous diseases for humans.

What is the way forward in front of this discouraging version of the events? Look for alternative ovens that can power car engines without negative consequences or, at least, try to limit them to the minimum initially. To date, there are several car models in the market with several facets in this regard:

  • Hybrid engine models. Hybrid models mainly use electric motors in cities and limit the use of traditional fuel (gasoline or diesel) to travel outside the city walls.
  • Electric motors. Electric motors, in practice, are zero emissions and use the energy provided by huge rechargeable batteries. Another issue to be studied is the origin of the electrical energy used to recharge the batteries. Some of them come from renewable energy sources such as solar energy or wind energy, but part of them comes from non-renewable energy sources such as coal-fired power plants or nuclear power plants.
  • Engines powered by hydrogen. The hydrogen engine is much less polluting and has performances similar to those of traditional fuels. Hydrogen engine research seems to have been left out in favor of other solutions.
  • Experimental versions of air motors, which in practice do not use any fuel to generate their movement and have an emission in practice null.
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Last review: May 2, 2018