How Internal Combustion Engine Works, History, Inventors, 4 Strokes, New

internal combustion engine
Written by Amit

What is Internal Combustion Engine or IC Engine?

As the name implies, an internal combustion engine ( ICE or IC Engine) is a form of heat engine in which fuel is ignited internally, that is, within the engine casing, to generate work. Unlike external combustion, which occurs outside the engine, such in a steam engine.

The generation of work can be done in two ways either with a piston-cylinder (i.e. reciprocating engines) or with a turbine. The former is the most common type that you can see in your bike, scooter, or car.

The history and invention of the internal combustion engine


George Brayton, an American, created the first industrial internal combustion engine in 1872. Working with Wilhelm Maybach and Gottlieb Daimler, Nicolaus Otto invented the compressed charge, four-cycle engine in 1876. Karl Benz obtained a patent for a dependable two-stroke gasoline engine in 1879.


The first commercially successful IC engine was created by Étienne Lenoir around 1860, and the first modern internal combustion engine, known as the Otto engine, was created in 1876 by Nicolaus Otto.

Internal Combustion Engine Inventors

Nicolaus Otto

Nicolaus Otto

German engineer Nicolaus August Otto, who was born in Holzhausen a der Haide, Nassau, and died in Cologne on January 26, 1891, invented the compressed charge internal combustion engine that gave rise to the modern internal combustion engine. The Otto Engine is an internal combustion engine in which the ignition of the compressed fuel-air mixture is triggered by a timed spark. The Association of German Engineers (VDI) produced DIN standard 40, which has since been applied to all engines of this type.

George Brayton

George Brayton

American mechanical engineer and inventor George Bailey Brayton. He gained fame for developing the constant pressure engine, sometimes known as the Brayton cycle, which serves as the foundation for petrol turbines.


Étienne Lenoir

Etienne Lenoir

Engineer Jean Joseph Étienne Lenoir, often known as Jean J. Lenoir, was a Belgian-French inventor who created the internal combustion engine in 1858. He lived from 12 January 1822 to 4 August 1900. Although earlier versions of these engines (the De Rivaz engine) were patented as early as 1807, none were commercially successful. For the first time in the history of the internal combustion engine, Lenoir’s engine was successfully commercialised in large enough quantities.

Mussy-la-Ville, which has been a part of the Belgian Province of Luxembourg since 1839 (then in Luxembourg), is where he was born. He moved to France in 1838 and settled in Paris, where he became interested in electroplating. He created various electrical inventions as a result of his interest in the field, including an improved electric telegraph.

Samuel Brown

Samuel Brown

In the early 19th century, Samuel Brown (1799–16 September 1849), an English engineer and inventor, is credited with creating one of the first instances of an internal combustion engine.

The “father of the petrol engine” has been dubbed Brown, a cooper by trade (who also patented improvements to technology for making casks and other vessels). From 1825 and 1835, he developed “the first petrol engine that indisputably did actual work and was a mechanical success” while residing at Eagle Lodge in west London’s Brompton neighbourhood. On the Lodge grounds, he built up two engines as a demonstration.

His inventions of the petrol engine and the screw propeller were attributed in his obituary.


The fundamental chemical process of releasing energy from a fuel and air mixture is combustion, sometimes referred to as burning. In an internal combustion engine (ICE), the gasoline is ignited and burned inside the engine. The energy from the combustion is then partially converted into work by the engine. A stationary cylinder and a moving piston make up the engine. The piston is propelled by the expanding combustion gases, which turns the crankshaft. This motion ultimately propels the wheels of the car through the powertrain’s gearing system.

The spark ignition gasoline engine and the compression ignition diesel engine are the two types of IC engines now in production. The majority of these engines have a four-stroke cycle, which requires four piston strokes to complete a cycle. The intake, compression, combustion and power stroke, and exhaust are the four separate processes that make up the cycle.

Engines that use compression ignition for diesel and spark ignition for gasoline need different fuel delivery and igniting systems. During the intake process of a spark ignition engine, the fuel and air are combined before being injected into the cylinder and The spark ignites the fuel-air mixture after the piston compresses it, resulting in combustion. During the power stroke, the piston is propelled by the expansion of the combustion gases. Just air is sucked into a diesel engine, where it is compressed. The gasoline is then sprayed into the heated, compressed air by diesel engines at an appropriate, calibrated rate, setting it ablaze.

4 Stroke Internal Combustion Engine

4 Stroke Internal Combustion Engine

:Figure 1

The four-stroke engine is the most common types of internal combustion engines and is used in various automobiles (that specifically use gasoline as fuel) like cars, trucks, and some motorbikes (many motorbikes use a two stroke engine). A four stroke engine delivers one power stroke for every two cycles of the piston (or four piston strokes). There is an image to the right (Figure 1) of a four-stroke engine and further explanation of the process below.

1. Intake stroke: The piston moves downward to the bottom, this increases the volume to allow a fuel-air mixture to enter the chamber.
2. Compression stroke:  The intake valve is closed, and the piston moves up the chamber to the top. This compresses the fuel-air mixture. At the end of this stroke, a spark plug provides the compressed fuel with the activation energy required to begin combustion.
3. Power Stroke: As the fuel reaches the end of it’s combustion, the heat released from combusting hydrocarbons increases the pressure which causes the gas to push down on the piston and create the power output.
4. Exhaust stroke: As the piston reaches the bottom, the exhaust valve opens. The remaining exhaust gas is pushed out by the piston as it moves back upwards.


Depending on the model and layout of the vehicle, these gasoline engines’ thermal efficiency will change. In contrast, gasoline engines typically convert 20% of the fuel’s chemical energy into mechanical energy, of which only 15% is used to move the wheels (the rest is lost to friction and other mechanical elements). A higher compression ratio is one way engines’ thermodynamic efficiency can be enhanced. The ratio represents the difference between the engine chamber’s minimum and maximum volume. A greater fuel-air mixture will be allowed to enter with a higher ratio, creating a higher pressure that raises the chamber’s temperature and improves thermal efficiency.

The mechanical energy (rotation of a shaft at a specific speed and torque) and thermal energy of the waste gases that escape into the atmosphere are both produced by reciprocating internal combustion engines, which constitute machinery.

internal combustion engine

internal combustion engine


What is an IC Engine?

What is an IC Engine?

In an internal combustion engine (ICE), the ignition and combustion of the fuel occurs within the engine itself. The engine then partially converts the energy from the combustion to work. The engine consists of a fixed cylinder and a moving piston.

How does a IC engine work?

How does a IC engine work?

In the case of a CI engine, the fuel injector quickly injects fuel into the combustion chamber as a spray, the fuel ignites due to the high temperature. Power or working stroke: The pressure of the combustion gases pushes the piston downward, generating more kinetic energy than is required to compress the charge.

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