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Internal Combustion Engine

Piston engines

Piston engine
Rotary piston

Rotary piston engine
Internal combustion,
External combustion

Steam engine, Stirling engine
Cyclic or
continuous combustion


Self igniting,
Spark plug ignition
Diesel engine,
petrol engine

Solid fuels

Natural gas , hydrogen
LPG (under pressure), methanol, bioethanol, petrol, kerosine, (bio-)diesel, vegetable oil, sunfuel, heavy oil
coke, wood gas (generator), steam engine
Internal mixture formation,

External mixture formation

Direct injection:
jet, air, wall guided
homogeneous, stratified charge
carburetor engine, intake manifold injection (petrol engine), side combustion chamber process (diesel)
Operating methods
Uniflow, crossflow, loop-scavenging
Charge changing
Valve control
Port control
Sleeve control
Side valves: sv
overhead valves:
ohv, ohc, dohc, hydraulic operated
two-stroke engine
rotary valve, piston valve

Charge by ...
Suction only,
Dynamic charging,
Kinetic energy,
Fluid energy

E.g. variable intake manifold length

ConstructionsIn-line, V, VR (staggered V), Boxer and W-engine (VV-engine)
Liquid cooling,
Air cooling
Oil circulation
Thermo-syphon cooling, pump circulation airflow
blower, blower
Dragster engine (example)
*Engine with a rotating piston with, only in one part of the power stroke, is a connection to a fixed combustion chamber with permanent combustion.

Energy flow
Chemical -> heat -> flow
Motion energy = kinetic energy


The combustion engine should efficiently transform the chemical energy found in the fuel, and producing as little exhaust pollution as possible, into kinetic energy. The invention of the internal combustion engine decisively influenced the development of the motor vehicle.


A fuel-air mixture is ignited - except in case of a fuel-cell - in a combustion chamber. The resulting pressure is transferred through a stroke movement or directly into a rotary movement and is passed on to the engine as torque. The fuel-cell first converts the chemical energy into electric energy, which is subsequently delivered through the electric motor(s).


One differentiates between engines with external- (exothermic) and internal (endothermic) combustion. Among those in the first group are, e.g., the steam engine and the Stirling engine. All the others are found in the second group, among them are the motor-vehicle internal combustion engine and the jet-engine. In addition, one distinguishes - as one does with pumps - between through-flow- and displacement engines. E.g., the gas turbines belong in the first group, whereas all the other engines known to us, belong in the second group, including the rotary-piston engines (Wankel-engines). 02/09