Combustion Engine: Definition & Different Type of Engines

The combustion of fuel releases heat energy that is converted into mechanical energy with the help of a combustion engine.
Combustion Engine Gears

A combustion engine is a mechanical device or motor which is designed to convert heat energy into the form of mechanical energy. However, engines are of different types. One of the best use of a combustion engine is to run an automobile. Another use is to generate electricity through different types of fuels.

The engines are basically classified on the basis of their combustion.

External Combustion Engine

External combustion Engine or EC Engine
External combustion Engine or EC Engine

In an EC or External combustion engine, the combustion (burning of fuel) takes place outside of the cylinder. The most widely used application of an EC engine is to generate electricity in steam power plants. It uses the heat energy of fuel and converts water or any other low boiling temperature into steam. This high pressure steam rotates the turbine that generates electricity. Fuels used in this engine may be solid,  liquid, or gas.

Another application of this combustion engine is to drive locomotives and ships.

Advantages of EC Engine

  1. The initial torque is higher.
  2. It works on cheap solid fuels.
  3. They are way more flexible as compared to IC Engine.

Disadvantages of EC Engine

  1. The engine is very vast and takes up more area.
  2. It is heavy in weight.
  3. The combustion process takes a long time.

Internal Combustion Engine

Internal Combustion Engine or IC Engine
Internal Combustion Engine

This is an engine in which the burning of fuel takes place inside the engine. That‘s why the name is Internal Combustion Engine. When the fuel burns inside the engine cylinder, it generates a high temperature and pressure.

The high-pressure force generated through the combustion of fuel is exerted on the piston (A device that is free to move inside the cylinder and transmits the pressure force to the crank with the help of a connecting rod), that rotates the wheels of a vehicle.

In internal combustion engines, we use gases and high volatile fuels like petrol and diesel to generate heat energy. One of its best examples is an automobile engine (Cars and bikes).

Furthermore, there are different IC engines on the basis of strokes like two-stroke engines, four-stroke engines, five-stroke engines, and six-stroke engines.

Advantages of IC Engine

  1. The overall efficiency is high when compared with an EC engine.
  2. These engines are compact and acquire less space.
  3. The initial cost of the IC engine is lower than the EC engine.
  4. This engine does not face starting issues in cold because it uses high volatile fuel.
  5. Combustion takes less time.

Disadvantages of IC Engine

  1. More complexity and less flexibility due to more moving parts in less space.
  2. Low power to weight and power to volume ratios.
  3. Can not use cheaper fuels e.g. solid fuels. However, only liquid or gaseous fuel of given specifications can be efficiently used. These fuels are relatively expensive.
  4. IC engines have reciprocating parts and hence balancing them is a problem. They are also susceptible to mechanical vibrations.
  5. High maintenance and lower combustion Efficiency.
  6. After a decade, the world may completely shift to electric vehicles due to increased pollution levels. Many developed countries have already made statements regarding this.

Soon, the majority of automakers will shift to all-electric due to climate change which is a good move to keep climate and pollution in mind.

Wants to Share the curiosity of Cosmos to every penurious person who is enthusiastic like me for knowing about the enormous Space and its Energy.