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Internal combustion engines require ignition
Internal combustion engines require ignition of the mixture, either by spark ignition (SI) or compression ignition (CI). Before the invention of reliable electrical methods, hot tube and flame methods were used. Experimental engines with laser ignition have been built.15
Spark Ignition Process
Points and Coil Ignition
The spark ignition engine was a refinement of the early engines which used Hot Tube ignition. When Bosch developed the magneto it became the primary system for producing electricity to energize a spark plug.16 Many small engines still use magneto ignition. Small engines are started by hand cranking using a recoil starter or hand crank . Prior to Charles F. Kettering of Delco's development of the automotive starter all gasoline engined automobiles used a hand crank.17
Larger engines typically power their starting motors and Ignition systems using using the electrical energy stored in a lead?acid battery. The battery's charged state is maintained by an automotive alternator or (previously) a generator which uses engine power to create electrical energy storage.
The battery supplies electrical power for starting when the engine has a starting motor system, and supplies electrical power when the engine is off. The battery also supplies electrical power during rare run conditions where the alternator cannot maintain more than 13.8 volts (for a common 12V automotive electrical system). As alternator voltage falls below 13.8 volts, the lead-acid storage battery increasingly picks up electrical load. During virtually all running conditions, including normal idle conditions, the alternator supplies primary electrical power.
Gas turbine cycle engines
Main article: Brayton cycle
A gas turbine is a rotary machine somewhat similar in principle to a steam turbine. It consists of three main components: compressor, combustion chamber, and turbine. The air is compressed by the compressor where a temperature rise occurs. The compressed air is further heated by combustion of injected fuel in the combustion chamber which expands the air. This energy rotates the turbine which powers the compressor via a mechanical coupling. The hot gases are then exhausted to provide thrust.
Gas turbine cycle engines employ a continuous combustion system where compression, combustion, and expansion occur simultaneously at different places in the engine?giving continuous power. Notably, the combustion takes place at constant pressure, rather than with the Otto cycle, constant volume.
In 1879, Nikolaus Otto manufactured and sold a double expansion engine (the double and triple expansion principles had ample usage in steam engines), with two small cylinders at both sides of a low-pressure larger cylinder, where a second expansion of exhaust stroke gas took place; the owner returned it, alleging poor performance. In 1906, the concept was incorporated in a car built by EHV (Eisenhuth Horseless Vehicle Company) CT, USA;22 and in the 21st century Ilmor designed and successfully tested a 5-stroke double expansion internal combustion engine, with high power output and low SFC (Specific Fuel Consumption).23
The six-stroke engine was invented in 1883. Four kinds of six-stroke use a regular piston in a regular cylinder (Griffin six-stroke, Bajulaz six-stroke, Velozeta six-stroke and Crower six-stroke), firing every three crankshaft revolutions. The systems capture the wasted heat of the four-stroke Otto cycle with an injection of air or water.
The Beare Head and "piston charger" engines operate as opposed-piston engines, two pistons in a single cylinder, firing every two revolutions rather more like a regular four-stroke.