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Performance Parameters of IC Engines

Performance of an engine means the efficiency and power
obtainable, when an engine is operated at different value of
variables within their operating range.

Some of the important variables are speed, inlet pressure and

temperature, output, air fuel ratio etc. At each speed within the
useful range the power output varies and it has a maximum
usable value.

The ratio of the power developed to the maximum usable power

developed at the same speed is called the load.

The performance of the engine depend on inter relationship

between power developed, speed and specific fuel consumption at
each operating condition within the useful range of speed and

Various engine efficiencies are given below;
 Air standard efficiency
 Brake thermal efficiency
 Indicated thermal efficiency
 Mechanical efficiency
 Relative efficiency
 Scavenging efficiency
 Charge efficiency
 Combustion efficiency

Air Standard Efficiency

This efficiency is also known as thermodynamic efficiency. It is a

function of compression ratio and other parameters. It gives an
idea about the maximum efficiency obtainable in case of engines.
The efficiency of a cycle is given by;
Work done
Heat sup plied

Indicated and Brake Thermal Efficiencies

These efficiencies are based on the I.P. and B.P. of the engine
respectively. These efficiencies give an idea of the useful output of
engine with respect to heat supplied in the form of fuel.
In modern engines an indicated thermal efficiency of almost 30%
is obtainable with gas and gasoline.

Indicated Power
The indicated power is the power actually developed inside the
engine cylinder. It is measured with the help of an indicator
diagram obtained from an instrument known as indicator.

The indicator diagram is a graphical representation of pressure

volume variations during the working of the cycle. Accordingly
indicated power, ip can be written as;
ip  m a  network
where ma is in kg/s, network is in kJ/kg of air and ip is in kW.

In working with actual engines, it is often desirable to compute ip

from a given pim and given engine operating conditions. By

Indicated power = Indicated net work 

pim LAnK
ip  kW

Where ip = indicated power (kW)

pim = indicated mean effective pressure
L = length of the stroke (m)
A = area of the piston (m2)
N = speed in revolution per minute
n = number of power strokes per minute
N/2 for a four-stroke engine, N for a two
stroke engine
K = number of cylinders

Morse Test
This test is used to find out the indicated power developed from
each of the cylinders in multi cylinder internal combustion engine
without the aid of indicator diagram.

In this method the brake power of an engine when all the

cylinders are in operation is measured at constant speed and load.
Then one of the cylinders is cut off by short circuiting the spark
plug in petrol engines and cutting off individual fuel supply in
diesel engine.
Since the first cylinder is cut off, the engine will not develop
power. As a result the speed of the engine will decrease.

In order to operate the engine at constant speed the load is

decreased by removing a few dead weights added over the rope
brake dynamometer or prony brake. Hence the engine is brought
back to the constant speed operation.

At this condition the brake power is measured developed by the

remaining three cylinders. The same procedure is repeated by
cutting off the remaining three cylinders one by one.

Then the indicated power can be calculated as follows. Let I 1, I2,

I3, and I4 be the indicated power by each cylinder and B1, B2, B3,
and B4 be the brake power developed in each cylinder.

Assuming F1, F2, F3, and F4 are the frictional power of each
cylinder, the total indicated power is given by
I = I1+I2+I3+I4 and

The total frictional power F = F1+F2+F3+F4

The total brake power developed by the engine
B = I-F
= (I1+I2+I3+I4)-(F1+F2+F3+F4)
When the 1st cylinder is cut off, it will not produce any power.
Hence I1 = 0, but frictional power of the multi cylinder engine
remains constant.

Accordingly brake power of remaining cylinders

B1 = (I2+I3+I4) – (F1+F2+F3+F4)
Indicated power of cylinder 1 is given by
I1 = B-B1
Similarly for cylinder number 2, 3 and 4, the indicated
powers are given by
I2 = B-B2, I3=B-B3 and I4 = B-B4
Total indicated power I = I1+I2+I3+I4

Brake Power
The brake power bp is the useful power available at the
crankshaft. The bp is usually measured by attaching a power
absorption device to the drive shaft of the engine.
Such a device sets up measurable counteracting the forces
delivered by the engine, and the determined value of these
measured forces is indicative of the forces being delivered.

The schematic of a prony brake for power measurement is shown

in Figure 5.1. Work has been defined as the product of a force
and the distance through the point of application of force moves.

As the drive shaft of the engine turns through one

revolution, any point on the periphery of the rigidly attached
wheel moves through a distance equal to 2πr.

During this movement, a friction force, f is acting against

the wheel. The force, f is thus acting through the distance 2πr, and
producing work. Thus,
Work during one revolution = Distance  Force
= (2πr)  f

The torque, rf, produced by the drive-shaft is opposed by a

turning moment equal to the product of the length of the moment
are R and the force F measured by the scale
T = rf = RF

Accordingly bp  kW
60  1000

It should be noted that N is the rpm of the engine. The friction

force is acting during every revolution of the crankshaft,
regardless of whether or not that revolution contains a power

For an engine operating at a given speed and delivering a

given power, the torque must be a fixed amount. In such case, if R
is decreased, F will increase proportionately and vice versa. So
the brake power, bp, can be written as
bp 
Fuel Consumption
Accurate measurement of fuel consumption is very important in
engine testing work. It is not so easy due to the following factors;
 Due to engine heat vapour bubbles are formed in the fuel line.
When the bubble grows the fuel volume increases and back flow
of fuel takes place.

 If the bubbles are formed before or inside the flow meter the
measured flow can be much higher than actual.

 The density of the fuel is dependent on temperature which can

vary over a wide range (-100C to 700C) giving rise to an error in

 Some flow meters which use a light beam, the measurement

may be affected by the colour of the fuel.

Two basic types of fuel measurement methods are used;

Volumetric Type
Burette Method

It consists of two spherical glass bulbs having 100 cc and 200 cc

capacities respectively. They are connected by three way cocks so that
one may feed the engine while the other is being filled.

The glass bulbs are of different capacities so as to make the duration

of the tests approximately constant irrespective of the engine load.
In order to avoid the error in sighting the fuel level against the mark
on the burette photocells are used.

Gravimetric Type
The efficiency of an engine is generally related to kilograms of fuel
which are consumed and not to the number of litres.
The method of measuring volume flow and then correcting it for
specific gravity variations is quite inconvenient and inaccurate.

Instead if the weight of the fuel is directly measured a great

improvement in accuracy and cost can be obtained.

In this method the valve A is opened whenever the engine is to be run

without measuring the rate of fuel supply and valve B is closed so that
fuel from tank directly flows to the engine.

The fuel from tank is supplied to the flask by opening valves A & B
whenever measurement of the fuel is to be done. On the balance the
amount of fuel is weighed.

Keeping the valve B open the valve A is closed so that the fuel from
the flask is siphoned off to the engine.

Fuel Consumption Measurement in Vehicles

Here fuel consumption is measured in kilometers per litre. A glass
burette of 1 litre capacity is connected by tubes and control valves so
that the precise number of km/litre is observed on an actual road test.
The tester is hung on the top edge of the right front door glass or
similarly suitable location.

Air Consumption
The diet of an engine consists of air and fuel. For finding out the
performance of the engine accurate measurement of both the
quantities is essential.

In IC engines satisfactory measurement of air consumption is quite

difficult because the flow is pulsating due to cyclic nature of the
engine and because the air is a compressible fluid.

Air Box Method

The orifice method can be used if pressure pulsations could be
damped out by some means.

The usual method of damping out pulsations is to fit air box of

suitable volume (500 to 600 times the swept volume in single cylinder
engines and less in the case of multi-cylinder engines) with an orifice
placed in the side of the box.

Velocity of air = (2gH)0.5

Q = Cd ×A×V m3/s (Cd = 0.95)
A = Area of orifice

Mechanical Efficiency
It is the ratio of brake power to indicated power.
m 
I .P.

Relative Efficiency
The relative efficiency or efficiency ratio is defined as the ratio of
actual efficiency to air standard efficiency.
Actual Efficiency
r 
Air S tan dard Efficiency

Volumetric Efficiency
The volumetric efficiency of a naturally aspirated engine is
defined as the ratio of the volume of the charge inducted at
atmospheric surrounding the engine to the piston displacement.

Charge Efficiency
The charge efficiency shows how well the piston displacement of a
four stroke engine is utilized. Various factors affecting charge
efficiency are
 Compression ratio
 Timing of the engine
 Resistance offered to air fuel charge during its passage
through induction manifold.

Combustion Efficiency
The combustion efficiency is the ratio of heat generated to the
calorific value of fuel. The amount of heat generated is less than
the theoretical value because of incomplete combustion either due
to dissociation or due to lack of available oxygen.

Combustion efficiency in a well tuned engine varies from 92 to 97

per cent.

Scavenging Efficiency
In case of two stroke engines scavenging efficiency is defined is
defined as the ratio of the amount of air or gas-air mixture, which
remains in the cylinder, at the actual beginning of the
compression to the product of the total volume and air density of
the inlet.

Scavenging efficiency for most of the two-stroke engines varies

from 40 to 90 per cent depending upon the type of scavenging
Mean Effective Pressure
Mean effective pressure is the average pressure inside the
cylinder of an internal combustion engine based on the calculated
or measured output.

For any particular engine, operating at a given speed and power

output, there will be a specific mean effective pressure, imep, and
a corresponding brake mean effective pressure, bmep.

Indicated mean effective pressure from equation 5.4 can be

written as;
pim 
Similarly the brake mean effective pressure is given by;
p bm 

Mean Piston Speed

Another significant parameter is engine applications is the mean
piston speed, vp . It is defined as
v p  2 LN

Where L is the stroke and N is the rotational speed of the

crank shaft in rpm. vp is often a more appropriate parameter
than crank rotational speed for correlating engine behavior as a
function of speed.

Resistance to gas flow into engine or stresses due to the inertia of

the moving parts limit the maximum value of vp to within 8 to 15

Specific Power Output

It is defined as the power output per unit piston area and is a
measure of engine designer’s success in using the available piston
area regardless of cylinder size.

The specific power can be shown to be proportional to the

product of mean effective pressure and mean piston speed.
Specific power output =  Cons tan t  Pbm  v p

Accordingly for the same piston displacement and brake

mean effective pressure, an engine running at a higher speed will
give a higher specific output.

Specific Fuel Consumption

The fuel consumption characteristics of an engine are generally
expressed in terms of specific fuel consumption in kilograms of
fuel per kilowatt-hour.

It is an important parameter that reflects how good the engine

performance is. It is inversely proportional to the thermal
efficiency of the engine.
sfc = Fuel consumption per unit time/Power
Brake specific fuel consumption and indicated specific fuel
consumption, abbreviated as bsfc and isfc, are the specific fuel
consumptions on the basis of BP and IP respectively.

Fuel Air (F/A) or Air Fuel (A/F) Ratio

The relative proportions of the fuel and air in the engine are very
significant from combustion and efficiency point of view. This is
expressed either as a ratio of the mass of fuel to that of air and
vice versa.

In a SI engine the fuel air ratio practically remains constant over

a wide range of operation. In CI engines at a given speed the air
flow does not vary with load; it is the fuel that varies directly with
load. Therefore fuel-air ratio is generally used instead of air-fuel

A mixture that contains just enough air for complete combustion

of all the fuel in the mixture is called a chemically correct or
stoichiometric fuel air ratio.
A mixture having more fuel than that in a chemically correct
mixture is termed as rich mixture and a mixture that contains less
fuel is called lean mixture.

The ratio of actual fuel air ratio to stoichiometric fuel air ratio is
called equivalence ratio and denoted by φ. Thus φ = 1 means
stoichiometric (chemically correct) mixture, φ < 1 means lean
mixture and φ > 1 means rich mixture.


Engines are used at constant speed but under variable load
conditions for power generation and many domestic applications.
Similarly engines are used under variable speed and load
conditions like automobile engines.

Engine performance characteristics are a convenient graphical

presentation of an engine performance.

It is to be noted that there is a certain speed range of a

particular engine, at which the charge inducted per cylinder per
cycle will be maximum. At this point the maximum force can be
exerted on the piston.
As the speed of the engine is increased above this speed the
quantity of the indicated charge will decrease. However the power
output of an engine increases with speed due to more number of
cycles is executed per unit time.

It should be noted the air consumption will continue to

increase with increased engine speed until some point is reached
where the charge per cylinder per stroke decreases very rapidly.

Engines are so designed that the maximum air consumption

point is not reached within the operating speed of the engine.
Increase in air consumption means that increased quantities of
fuel can be added per unit time increasing the power output.

In fact the ip produced in the cylinder is almost directly

proportional to the engine air consumption. From the Figure 5.2
it is seen that maximum torque occurs at a lower speed than the
maximum ip.
Some of the other important performance characteristics for
a typical SI engine is shown in Figure 5.3. In SI engine
performance curve torque, ip, bp and fp are plotted against engine
speed throughout the operating range of the engine at full throttle
and variable load.

The difference between the ip produced in the cylinder, and the

bp realized at the drive shaft is fp.
At low engine speeds, the fp is relatively low, and bp is nearly
as large as ip. As engine speed increases, however, fp increases at
a greater rate. At engine speeds above usual operating range, fp
increases very rapidly.

It may be noted that the torque reaches a maximum at

approximately 60% of the rated rpm of the engine, while the ip
has not reached maximum even at the rated speed.

Fuel consumption and bsfc is plotted against the engine speed, for
the same engine operating under the same conditions as shown in
Figure 5.4. The quantity of fuel increases with engine speed.
The bsfc, on the other hand, drops as the speed is increased
in the low speed range, nearly levels off at medium speeds, and
increases in the high speed range.

At low speeds, the heat loss to the combustion chamber

walls is proportionately greater and combustion efficiency is
poorer, resulting in higher fuel consumption for the power

At the high speeds, the fp is increasing at a rapid rate,

resulting in a slower increase in bp than in fuel consumption, with
a consequent increase in bsfc. The bsfc curve is for full throttle,
variable speed operation.

General shape of the bsfc curve at any given rpm is shown in

Figure 5.5. The reason for the rapid increase in bsfc with the
reduction in throttle opening is that the fp remains essentially
constant, while the ip is being reduced. The bp drops more rapidly
than fuel consumption, thereby the bsfc rises.