The Road Use Internal Combustion Engines

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Introduction Currently, most vehicles on the road use internal combustion engines (ICEs). This type of engine has existed from as early as the 19th century, when Nikolaus Otto created the first 4-stroke cycle (Otto-cycle) system, which is still used in cars to this day. As of 2010, the vehicular population surpassed 1 billion (according to the research by Ward’s Auto [1]), meaning the IC engine is extremely widespread throughout the world. However, this does not mean that an IC engine is the most effective way of producing power for vehicles nowadays. They have many problems, which include but are not limited to increased fuel consumption and high CO2 emissions. There have been many attempts to improve the IC engine, including the…show more content…
For each cylinder, there is a piston attached to a crankshaft, allowing it to move up and down (i.e. complete a stroke), an intake manifold housing the intake valve, connected to the combustion chamber and exhaust valve. The intake valve opens, and air is taken into the combustion chamber, as the piston is pulled towards the crankshaft (Intake Stroke). Then the valves are closed, and the piston is extended, pressurising a combination of air and fuel in the compression chamber, causing combustion (Compression Stroke). This instantaneous combustion causes the pressure in the combustion chamber to increase and act on the face of the piston, causing it to be pushed back towards the crankshaft (Power Stroke). After this, the exhaust valve is opened, and the gas escapes (Exhaust Stroke). Idling However, every time one cycle is completed, some fuel is used to create the spark during the power stroke. This means that when the car is idling (i.e. the engine is on, but the car is stationary), a lot of fuel and energy is wasted. This will not only negatively affect fuel consumption, but also increase the CO2 emissions, which are already quite high. As stated by the U.S. Department of Energy, around 27 million tonnes (30 million tons) of CO2 is produced in the US alone [3], just due to idling vehicles. Personal vehicles also waste approximately 3 million tonnes of fuel annually, just
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