How it works
An internal combustion engine, which is what almost all cars and trucks on the roads these days have, uses a four stroke process
to convert fuel into motion.
The four stroke process of an engine is
The intake stroke is when the intake valve opens and the piston moves down to allow a mixture of fuel and air into
the cylinder. The compression stroke is where the piston moves upward and reduces the area in the cylinder thus
compressing the oxygen and fuel mixture and giving the explosion from the ignition more power. The combustion stroke
the piston reaches the top of the cylinder and the spark plug emitts a small spark which ignites the oxygen and fuel mixture. This
results in an explosion and pushes the piston downward. Once the piston reaches the bottom of the cylinder the exhaust stroke
opens the exhaust valve and the exhaust leaves the cylinder and goes out the tailpipe and completes the cycle.
The rotation of the crank shaft in the four stroke process rotates gears in the tranmission and causes the wheels to turn. This
is how the Internal Combustion Engine takes fuel and oxygen and turns it into motion.
History of the Internal Combustion Engine
The idea of the internal combustion engine dates back to as early as 1680. A Dutch physicist came up with the idea
to use gun powder to make an explosion to drive a piston. He was unsuccessful in producing a working model and the idea was never widely accepted.
In 1807 a Swiss inventor
used a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen to produce explosions powerful enough to drive a vehicle. Essential this was the idea for the very first "Hydrogen"
powered car. Although the idea would have been very useful his design was very unsuccessful. Later in 1862 a French Civil Engineer patented but did not build the first design
for the four stroke engine. Not until 1876 did Nikolaus August Otto build a successful working four stroke engine that
he patented as the "Otto Cycle". In 1885, Gottlieb Daimler improved upon the four stroke engine and successfully built the first two wheeled
vehicle and a year later the first four wheeled vehicle. In 1886, the same year Daimler built the first four wheeled internal combustion
engine powered vehicle, Karl Benz received the first patent for a gas-fueled car. Benz's and Daimler's designs were the precursor to the
modern vehicle we drive today.