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birth of IC engine.

Updated on April 10, 2013

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What is a IC Engine and What is the difference with Steam Engine.

Many People get confused with the term "IC" because in Electronics its widely used term and means "Integrated Circuit" but the IC engine is nothing like "Integrated Circuit". It means "Internal Combustion" Engine. Now many people has a wrong idea about internal Combustion engine and Steam Engine, they think that Steam engine is also an IC engine. But Steam Engine is not an IC engine its called External Combustion engine as it uses Steam developed from a Boiler using external heat source or fuel combustion.

The process of IC engine is not very simple as it needs many different parts coupled very carefully to work properly. In an IC engine the fuel is Supplied in to the cylinder and there the combustion occurs and the energy releases which is used to drive the automotive. It can be stated very simply but its not very simple in real world.

There are two types of IC engine according to their ignition method. 1) SI engine or Spark Ignition Engine 2) CI engine or Compression Ignition Engine.

Now questions may be asked about the differences between them. I would tell that answers lies in the name of those methods. The naming was done to signify their method. If we elaborate the name we can easily tell why its called by that name.

Spark Ignition it suggests that there must be a spark to ignite the fuel. And its true, in SI engine the spark plug is used to ignite the fuel after compression stroke, to create the explosion in the cylinder so the engine gets the energy to move.

Compression Ignition it suggests that there must be a step of high compression to compress the air to heated up so high that if fuel added to it, it will explode. There is no need of spark plug but a higher compression ratio and a fuel injector.


Now many people get confused about those terms because they only know about "Petrol engine" or "Diesel Engine" they won't understand the SI or CI types. But mainly the name given due to their method of ignition are SI and CI. The Diesel or Petrol Engine name came from their fuels name. Ultimately the Petrol engine is an Example of SI engine and Diesel Engine is an Example of CI engine.

Revolution from Steam Engine To IC Engine

The Steam Engine was Invented first as it uses the 1st Law of Thermodynamics and simply uses the water to create steam using boiler.Boiler uses fuel like coal, oil for burning and producing heat which is used to develop the steam. This steam is supplied in the steam engine and the reciprocating parts moves to and from to give the motion toward the output shaft.

Steam engine is still used in almost 90% power plant. But during 18th century it was used in Auto-motives like rail's engine, and smaller transportation vehicles. But for small vehicles it was not a suitable engine, as it weigh much higher that the power production, so it did not had good speed.

Then in 1860 the invention of IC engine started as it was not invented by any single inventor,the development of IC engine was started that time. Through Continuous processes of development the modern IC engine took birth. Though the theory for the IC engine was developed before 1860, in 1824 when Sadi Carnot Developed a cycle called Carnot cycle. Which has developed many Idea's later and Many cycle was also developed like Otto cycle and Diesel Cycle those are still used on Petrol Engine and Diesel Engine.

In 1876 the first SI engine or Petrol Engine came in Real form by the German Inventor Nicholas Otto. In 1900 the first Diesel Engine also came out of the book in real form which was made by French inventor Rudolf Diesel.

The main reason of Development of IC engine driven automotive was the efficiency and the speed, as it has formidable speed and Efficiency than that of the Steam engine.

But now the Modern Automotive industry is not confined in the history they are running toward the more new things and as the world facing fuel crisis, it's about time to develop new engine or new type of engine which can run on alternative fuel's than Petrol, diesel or gas.

So many development of different method of automotive drive has already made though but they are not enough to the comparison of IC engine. They are still powerful and speedy than any new engine's like battery powered engine or motor driven engine.

Quiz about IC engine


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