Internal combustion engine

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The internal combustion engine is a heat engine ( thermal fluid energy machine ) that performs mechanical work through internal combustion of fuel . Further generalizations are fluid energy machine and prime mover . In contrast to the steam engine and the hot-air engine , all work processes take place in one work space, the working cylinder . In this case, chemical energy of a fuel-air mixture about the temperature of the working gas in pressure ( force) and expansion (distance) and thus converted into mechanical energy (force times distance).

All internal combustion engines work according to a common principle:

  1. Suction
  2. Compress
  3. Work
  4. Eject

There are two main types of internal combustion engines:

Turbomachinery (turbomachinery)

The four steps are run through continuously in turbo machines, the pressure conditions are constant. The turbine blades of the first stage determine the maximum possible temperature of the fuel gases.

Internal combustion engines

In internal combustion engines, these four work cycles run sequentially. Because of the cyclical combustion, much higher peak temperatures and thus higher efficiencies can be achieved than in flow machines.

See also


  • Klaus Groth: Basics of Piston Engine Construction, Vol. 1: Internal Combustion Engines. Vieweg, Braunschweig 1994, ISBN 3-528-06588-5
  • Rudolf Pischinger et al .: Thermodynamics of the Internal Combustion Engine. 3rd edition, Springer, Vienna 2009, ISBN 978-3-211-99276-0

Individual evidence

  1. Wissenschaft-Online-Lexika: Entry on "Internal combustion engine" in the Lexikon der Physik, accessed on July 22, 2012.