Published: Nov 2012
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Reciprocating internal combustion engines have been studied since the middle of the 19th century, but their full industrial development began with their application for vehicle propulsion in the following century. By definition, reciprocating internal combustion engines are volumetric-type engines using internal combustion and their kinematic operation is based on the alternating motion of pistons inside of cylinders. There are two basic types of reciprocating engines: Spark ignition engines and compression ignition or diesel engines. Spark ignition engines for automotive application mainly use gasoline as fuel, but they can also work on ethanol or natural gas. Diesel engines operate on diesel fuel, but in principle they can run in a dual-fuel configuration that primarily burns natural gas with a small amount of diesel pilot fuel (e.g., in some city-bus applications or in cogenerative stationary applications) . As a function of the modality with which the working cycle is performed, the engines can be referred to as two- or four-stroke engines according to the number of strokes of the piston in each working cycle. The present chapter will deal mainly with four-stroke engines, which are nowadays the widespread technology for vehicles. The two-stroke spark-ignited engine is only used in very small devices because of environmental constraints whereas the two-stroke diesel engine is limited to rare applications in slow, very large marine engines .
Politecnico di Milano,