May 172013

Internal Combustion EngineAn Internal Combustion Engine (IC Engine) is a type of combustion engine that converts chemical energy into thermal energy, to produce useful mechanical work. In an IC engine, combustion chamber is an integral part of the working fluid circuit.

Principle of operation:

Air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber (inside the cylinder) is ignited, either by a spark plug (in case of Spark Ignition Engines) or by compression (in case of Compression Ignition engines). This ignition produces tremendous amount of heat and pressure inside the cylinder. This induces reciprocating motion in the piston.

Power of the piston is transmitted to a crankshaft which undergoes rotary motion. The rotary motion is ultimately transmitted to the wheels of the vehicle, via a transmission system, to produce propulsion in the vehicle.

As the combustion takes place internally inside the cylinder (a part of working fluid circuit), the engine is called internal combustion engine.

Types of Internal Combustion Engines:

Internal combustion engines can be classified into a large number of types based on several criteria. The classification of IC engines is given below:

  1. Based on the fuel used
    1. Diesel Engine
    2. Petrol Engine (or Gasoline Engine)
  2. Based on the type of cycle
    1. Otto Cycle Engine
    2. Diesel Cycle Engine
    3. Dual Cycle Engine
  3. Based on the number of strokes per cycle
    1. Two-stroke Engine
    2. Four-stroke Engine
  4. Based on the number of cylinders
    1. Single Cylinder Engine
    2. Multi cylinder Engine
      1. Twin Cylinder Engine
      2. Three Cylinder Engine
      3. Four Cylinder Engine
      4. Six Cylinder Engine
      5. Eight Cylinder Engine
      6. Twelve Cylinder Engine
      7. Sixteen Cylinder Engine
  5. Based on the type of ignition
    1. Spark Ignition Engine (S.I. Engine)
    2. Compression Ignition Engine (C.I. Engine)
  6. Based on the lubrication system used
    1. Dry sump lubricated engine
    2. Wet sump lubricated Engine
  7. Based on the cooling system used
    1. Air-cooled Engine
    2. Water-cooled Engine
  8. Based on the arrangement of valves
    1. L-head Engine
    2. I-head Engine
    3. T-head Engine
    4. F-head Engine
  9. Based on the position of cylinders
    1. Horizontal Engine
    2. Vertical Engine
    3. Radial Engine
    4. Opposed Piston Engine
    5. Opposed Cylinder Engine
    6. V Engine
    7. W Engine
    8. Inline Engine
  10. Based on the pressure boost given to the inlet air or air-fuel mixture
    1. Naturally aspired Engine
    2. Supercharged Engine
    3. Turbocharged Engine
    4. Crankcase compressed Engine
  11. Based on application
    1. Automobile Engine
    2. Aircraft Engine
    3. Locomotive Engine
    4. Marine Engine
    5. Stationary Engine

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I am a mechanical engineer with a passion for technical stuff. I am the founder and former editor-in-chief of