four-stroke engine - an internal-combustion engine in which an explosive mixture is drawn into the cylinder on the first

stroke and is compressed and ignited on the second stroke; work is done on the third stroke and the products of combustion are exhausted on the fourth stroke.

Today, internal combustion engines in cars, trucks, motorcycles, aircraft, construction machinery and many others, most commonly use a four-stroke cycle. The four strokes refer to intake, compression, combustion (power), and exhaust strokes that occur during two crankshaft rotations per working cycle of the gasoline engine and diesel engine. The cycle begins at Top Dead Center (TDC), when the piston is farthest away from the axis of the crankshaft. A stroke refers to the full travel of the piston from Top Dead Center (TDC) to Bottom Dead Center (BDC). The four stroke that used in four stroke engines are: 1. INTAKE stroke: On the intake or induction stroke of the piston , the piston descends from the top of the cylinder to the bottom of the cylinder, reducing the pressure inside the cylinder. A mixture of fuel and air is forced by atmospheric (or greater) pressure into the cylinder through the intake port. The intake valve(s) then close. 2. COMPRESSION stroke: With both intake and exhaust valves closed, the piston returns to the top of the cylinder compressing the fuel-air mixture. This is known as the compression stroke. 3. POWER stroke.: While the piston is close to Top Dead Center, the compressed air–fuel mixture is ignited, usually by a spark plug (for a gasoline or Otto cycle engine) or by the heat and pressure of compression (for a diesel cycle or compression ignition engine). The resulting massive pressure from the combustion of the compressed fuel-air mixture drives the piston back down toward bottom dead center with tremendous force. This is known as the power stroke, which is the main source of the engine's torque and power. 4. EXHAUST stroke.: During the exhaust stroke, the piston once again returns to top dead center while the exhaust valve is open. This action evacuates the products of combustion from the cylinder by pushing the spent fuel-air mixture through the exhaust valve(s).
The inlet valve (IV) communicates through a throttle valve with the carburettor or vaporiser, from which a combustible mixture of fuel and air is drawn. The exhaust valve (EV) communicates with the silencer through which the burnt gases are discharged to the atmosphere. These valves are opened and closed at suitable intervals by mechanisms. The four strokes of the complete cycle are shown at flash above : (1) Induction stroke – exhaust valve closed: inlet valve open The momentum imparted to the flywheel during previous cycles or rotation by hand or by starter motor, causes the connecting rod to draw the piston outwards, setting up a partial vacuum which sucks in a new charge of combustible mixture from the carburettor . The pressure will be below atmospheric pressure by an amount which depends upon the speed of the engine and the throttle valve opening. (2) Compression stroke – both valves closed The piston returns, still driven by the momentum of the flywheel, and compresses the charge into

and a rapid rise of temperature and pressure occurs inside the cylinder . and is followed by the expansion of the hot gases as the piston moves outwards. It will thus be seen that there is only one working stroke for every four piston strokes. The pressure rises to an amount which depends on the ‘compression ratio’. The pressure will be slightly above atmospheric pressure by an amount depending on the resistance to flow offered by the exhaust valve and silencer.again driven by the momentum of the flywheel. The pressure falls as the volume increases. with full throttle opening.the combustion head of the cylinder.and discharges the spent gases through the exhaust valve. (3) Combustion or working stroke – both valves closed Just before the end of the compression stroke. but increases thermal loading. Combustion is completed while the piston is practically at rest. though they form an indispensable part of the cycle .In ordinary petrol engines this ratio is usually between 6 and 9 and the pressure at the end of compression is about 620 to 827. the ratio of the full volume of the cylinder when the piston is at the outer end of its stroke to the volume of the clearance space when the piston is at the inner (or upper) end. In 2nd point .the various forms of the two-stroke engine being the result. ignition of the charge is effected by means of an electric spark. This has led engineers to search for a cycle which would reduce the proportion of idle strokes. that is. or every two revolutions of the crankshaft.4 kN/m2. (4) Exhaust stroke – inlet valve closed: exhaust valve open The piston returns. The correspondingly larger number of useful strokes per unit of time increases the power output relative to size of engine. The pressure of the gases drives the piston forward and turns the crankshaft thus propelling the car against the external resistances and restoring to the flywheel the momentum lost during the idle strokes. the remaining three strokes being referred to as idle strokes.

The four strokes of the cycle are intake. It powers almost all cars and trucks. power. however. The illustrated engine features a poppet intake valve which is drawn open by the vacuum produced by the intake stroke. VL or VS : is Total or stroke volume . Each corresponds to one full stroke of the piston. compression. . and exhaust. Some early engines worked this way. The technically correct term is actually four stroke cycle.where Vc : is Clearance volume. TC : Top Center. the piston moves downward. hence it is also known as the Otto cycle. Extra information Four Stroke Engine The four stroke engine was first demonstrated by Nikolaus Otto in 18761. drawing a fresh charge of vaporized fuel/air mixture. BC : Bottom Center. The four stroke engine is probably the most common engine type nowadays. the complete cycle requires two revolutions of the crankshaft to complete Intake During the intake stroke. therefore. The exhaust valve is held shut by a spring (not illustrated here). Vd : is Displacment volume. most modern engines incorporate an extra cam/lifter arrangement as seen on the exhaust valve.

None of these enhancements changes the basic operation of the engine. The intake valve is open. compressing the fuel/air mixture. The upward stroke of the piston drives the exhausted fuel out of the cylinder. As the fuel burns it expands. the spark plug fires. . have various arrangements for the camshaft (dual. Larger four stroke engines usually include more than one cylinder. sometimes feature fuel injection. overhead. the exhaust valve is opened by the cam/lifter mechanism. Exhaust At the bottom of the power stroke. multiple valves. Another information of four strokes Intake Stroke The engine cycle begins with the intake stroke as the piston is pulled towards the crankshaft (to the left in the figure). igniting the compressed fuel. The fuel/air mixture is at a relatively low pressure (near atmospheric) and is colored blue in this figure. Flywheel momentum drives the piston upward. turbochargers. At the end of the intake stroke. the poppet valve is forced shut by the increased cylinder pressure. Power At the top of the compression stroke. etc. the piston is located at the far left and begins to move back towards the right. The exhaust valve is closed and the electrical contact switch is open. etc. driving the piston downward.Compression As the piston rises. and fuel and air are drawn past the valve and into the combustion chamber and cylinder from the intake manifold located on top of the combustion chamber.).

It relies on the slightly lower pressure within in the cylinder during the intake stroke to overcome the strength of the spring holding the valve shut. Cams and rocker arms provide better control and timing of the opening and closing of the valves. As the volume is decreased because of the piston's motion. as described by the laws of thermodynamics. just as you have to do work to inflate a bicycle tire using a pump. as the piston begins to move to the right. the combination of the cylinder and combustion chamber form a completely closed vessel containing the fuel/air mixture. the electrical contact is . In the figure. the mixture has been colored yellow to denote a moderate increase in pressure.The opening and closing of the intake valve of the Wright 1903 engine was termed "automatic" by the brothers. the pressure in the gas is increased. we have to do work on the mixture. Modern internal combustion engines do not work this way. During the compression. the intake valve closes. Historical note . but use cams and rocker arms like the brothers' exhaust system. As the piston is pushed to the right. To produce the increased pressure. the volume is reduced and the fuel/air mixture is compressed during the compression stroke. Compression Stroke With both valves closed. During the compression stroke.The cylinder and combustion chamber are full of the low pressure fuel/air mixture and. no heat is transferred to the fuel/air mixture.

the combustion of the fuel takes place in a totally enclosed (and nearly constant volume) vessel. The work done on the piston is then used to turn the shaft. From the ideal gas law. the increased temperature of the gases also produces an increased pressure in the combustion chamber. and the combustion chamber itself. Rapid combustion of the fuel releases heat. When the volume is the smallest. The high pressure of the gases acting on the face of the piston cause the piston to move to the left which initiates the power stroke. the contact is closed.kept opened. where the linear motion of the piston is converted to angular motion of the crankshaft. We have colored the gases red in the figure to denote the high pressure. the electrical contact is opened. and the propellers. any residual air in the combustion chamber. Having produced the igniting spark. and the pressure the highest as shown in the figure. Power Stroke At the beginning of the power stroke. The sudden opening of the contact produces a spark in the combustion chamber which ignites the fuel/air mixture. Because the intake and exhaust valves are closed. The combustion increases the temperature of the exhaust gases. and a current of electricity flows through the plug. Unlike the compression stroke. The force on the piston is transmitted by the piston rod to the crankshaft. and produces exhaust gases in the combustion chamber. the hot gas does work on the piston during the power stroke. . the electrical contact remains opened. and to compress the gases in the neighboring cylinder's compression stroke.

During the power stroke. . the piston is located at the far left. the cylinder and combustion chamber are full of exhaust products at low pressure (colored blue on the figure above. We have colored the exhaust "molecules" yellow to denote a moderate amount of pressure at the end of the power stroke. Heat that is left over from the power stroke is now transferred to the water in the water jacket until the pressure approaches atmospheric pressure. The intake valve is closed and the electrical contact is open during this movement of the piston. There are moving parts located inside the combustion chamber. the exhaust gas is pushed past the valve and exits the engine.) Because the exhaust valve is open.The method of producing the electrical spark used by the Wright brothers is called a "make and break" connection. which is much safer than the method used by the brothers. Modern internal combustion engines do not use this method. Exhaust Stroke At the end of the power stroke. the volume occupied by the gases is increased because of the piston motion and no heat is transferred to the fuel/air mixture. The exhaust valve is then opened by the cam pushing on the rocker arm to begin the exhaust stroke. As the volume is increased because of the piston's motion. but instead use a spark plug to produce the ignition spark. As the exhaust stroke begins. the pressure and temperature of the gas are decreased. Historical note . A spark plug has no moving parts. The purpose of the exhaust stroke is to clear the cylinder of the spent exhaust in preparation for another ignition cycle.

The brothers just had to watch the horsepower of their engine drop from about 16 horsepower when the engine was first started to about 12 horsepower when it was running hot. Historical note . As the engine runs and heats up. and then through the muffler to keep it quiet.At the end of the exhaust stroke. In real engine operation. You should now be able to make some sense from the animation at the top of this page.. so a real engine doesn't perform as well as the ideal engine described on this page. This motion is controlled by the timing chain.. Also notice how the cam moves the exhaust valve at just the right time and how quickly the intake valve opens after the exhaust valve is closed. the exhaust valve is closed and the engine begins another intake stroke. Notice that the crankshaft makes two revolutions for every one revolution of the cams. the exhaust stroke can not push all of the exhaust out of the cylinder. right next to the pilot.The exhaust system used by the Wright brothers caused the hot exhaust to exit each cylinder independently . The exhaust manifold passes the exhaust to the catalytic converter to remove dangerous gases. This engine was very loud as well. Modern automobiles collect the exhaust from all of the cylinders into an exhaust manifold (just like the intake manifold used by the brothers). the performance changes. . Modern automobile engines adjust the fuel/air ratio with computer controlled fuel injectors to maintain high performance. and finally out the exhaust pipe.

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