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The compression ratio is the ratio between the volume of the cylinder and combustion chamber in an internal combustion engine at their maximum and minimum values.
A fundamental specification for such engines, it is measured two ways: the static compression ratio, calculated based on the relative volumes of the combustion chamber and the cylinder when the piston is at the bottom of its stroke, and the volume of the combustion chamber when the piston is at the top of its stroke.
The dynamic compression ratio is a more advanced calculation which also takes into account gasses entering and exiting the cylinder during the compression phase.
A high compression ratio is desirable because it allows an engine to extract more mechanical energy from a given mass of air–fuel mixture due to its higher thermal efficiency. This occurs because internal combustion engines are heat engines, and higher compression ratios permit the same combustion temperature to be reached with less fuel, while giving a longer expansion cycle, creating more mechanical power output and lowering the exhaust temperature.
In petrol (gasoline) engines used in passenger cars for the past 20 years, compression ratios have typically been between 8:1 and 12:1. Several production engines have used higher compression ratios, including:
When forced induction (e.g. a turbocharger or supercharger) is used, the compression ratio is often lower than naturally aspirated engines. This is due to the turbocharger/supercharger already having compressed the air before it enters the cylinders. Engines using port fuel-injection typically run lower boost pressures and/or compression ratios than direct injected engines because port fuel injection causes the air/fuel mixture to be heated together, leading to detonation. Conversely, directly injected engines can run higher boost because heated air will not detonate without a fuel being present.
Higher compression ratios can make gasoline (petrol) engines subject to engine knocking (also known as "detonation", "pre-ignition" or "pinging") if lower octane-rated fuel is used.This can reduce efficiency or damage the engine if knock sensors are not present to modify the ignition timing.
Diesel engines use higher compression ratios than petrol engines, because the lack of a spark plug means that the compression ratio must increase the temperature of the air in the cylinder sufficiently to ignite the diesel using compression ignition. Compression ratios are often between 14:1 and 23:1 for direct injection diesel engines, and between 18:1 and 23:1 for indirect injection diesel engines.
The compression ratio may be higher in engines running exclusively on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or "propane autogas") or compressed natural gas, due to the higher octane rating of these fuels.
Kerosene engines typically use a compression ratio of 6.5 or lower. The petrol-paraffin engine version of the Ferguson TE20 tractor had a compression ratio of 4.5:1 for operation on tractor vaporising oil with an octane rating between 55 and 70.
Motorsport engines often run on high octane petrol and can therefore use higher compression ratios. For example, motorcycle racing engines can use compression ratios as high as 14.7:1, and it is common to find motorcycles with compression ratios above 12.0:1 designed for 86 or 87 octane fuel.
Ethanol and methanol can take significantly higher compression ratios than gasoline. Racing engines burning methanol and ethanol fuel often have a compression ratio of 14:1 to 16:1.
In a piston engine, the static compression ratio () is the ratio between the volume of the cylinder and combustion chamber when the piston is at the bottom of its stroke, and the volume of the combustion chamber when the piston is at the top of its stroke. It is therefore calculated by the formula
can be estimated by the cylinder volume formula
Because of the complex shape of it is usually measured directly. This is often done by filling the cylinder with liquid and then measuring the volume of the used liquid.
Most engines use a fixed compression ratio, however a variable compression ratio engine is able to adjust the compression ratio while the engine is in operation. The first production engine with a variable compression ratio was introduced in 2019.
Variable compression ratio is a technology to adjust the compression ratio of an internal combustion engine while the engine is in operation. This is done to increase fuel efficiency while under varying loads. Variable compression engines allow the volume above the piston at top dead centre to be changed.
Higher loads require lower ratios to increase power, while lower loads need higher ratios to increase efficiency, i.e. to lower fuel consumption. For automotive use this needs to be done as the engine is running in response to the load and driving demands.
The 2019 Infiniti QX50 is the first commercially available car that uses a variable compression ratio engine.
Based on the assumptions that adiabatic compression is carried out (i.e. that no heat energy is supplied to the gas being compressed, and that any temperature rise is solely due to the compression) and that air is a perfect gas, the relationship between the compression ratio and overall pressure ratio is as follows:
This relationship is derived from the following equation:
However, in most real-life internal combustion engines, the ratio of specific heats changes with temperature and that significant deviations from adiabatic behavior will occur.
The static compression ratio discussed above — calculated solely based on the cylinder and combustion chamber volumes — does not take into account any gasses entering or exiting the cylinder during the compression phase. In most automotive engines, the intake valve closure (which seals the cylinder) takes place during the compression phase (i.e. after bottom dead centre, BDC), which can cause some of the gasses to be pushed back out through the intake valve. On the other hand, intake port tuning and scavenging can cause a greater amount of gas to be trapped in the cylinder than the static volume would suggest. The dynamic compression ratio accounts for these factors.
The dynamic compression ratio is higher with more conservative intake camshaft timing (i.e. soon after BDC), and lower with more radical intake camshaft timing (i.e. later after BDC).Regardless, the dynamic compression ratio is always lower than the static compression ratio.
Absolute cylinder pressure is used to calculate the dynamic compression ratio, using the following formula:
Under ideal (adiabatic) conditions, the ratio of specific heats would be 1.4, but a lower value, generally between 1.2 and 1.3 is used, since the amount of heat lost will vary among engines based on design, size and materials used. For example, if the static compression ratio is 10:1, and the dynamic compression ratio is 7.5:1, a useful value for cylinder pressure would be 7.51.3 × atmospheric pressure, or 13.7 bar (relative to atmospheric pressure).
The two corrections for dynamic compression ratio affect cylinder pressure in opposite directions, but not in equal strength. An engine with high static compression ratio and late intake valve closure will have a dynamic compression ratio similar to an engine with lower compression but earlier intake valve closure.
The Diesel cycle is a combustion process of a reciprocating internal combustion engine. In it, fuel is ignited by heat generated during the compression of air in the combustion chamber, into which fuel is then injected. This is in contrast to igniting the fuel-air mixture with a spark plug as in the Otto cycle (four-stroke/petrol) engine. Diesel engines are used in aircraft, automobiles, power generation, diesel–electric locomotives, and both surface ships and submarines.
The diesel engine, named after Rudolf Diesel, is an internal combustion engine in which ignition of the fuel is caused by the elevated temperature of the air in the cylinder due to mechanical compression; thus, the diesel engine is a so-called compression-ignition engine. This contrasts with engines using spark plug-ignition of the air-fuel mixture, such as a petrol engine or a gas engine.
This article mainly describes reciprocating engine as heat engine. Also see non-heat engine types: pneumatic and hydraulic motors.
In engineering, the Miller cycle is a thermodynamic cycle used in a type of internal combustion engine. The Miller cycle was patented by Ralph Miller, an American engineer, U.S. Patent 2,817,322 dated Dec 24, 1957. The engine may be two- or four-stroke and may be run on diesel fuel, gases, or dual fuel.
A two-strokeengine is a type of internal combustion engine that completes a power cycle with two strokes of the piston during one power cycle, this power cycle being completed in one revolution of the crankshaft. A four-stroke engine requires four strokes of the piston to complete a power cycle during two crankshaft revolutions. In a two-stroke engine, the end of the combustion stroke and the beginning of the compression stroke happen simultaneously, with the intake and exhaust functions occurring at the same time.
An Otto cycle is an idealized thermodynamic cycle that describes the functioning of a typical spark ignition piston engine. It is the thermodynamic cycle most commonly found in automobile engines.
In internal combustion engines, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) is a nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions reduction technique used in petrol/gasoline, diesel engines and some hydrogen engines. EGR works by recirculating a portion of an engine's exhaust gas back to the engine cylinders. This dilutes the O2 in the incoming air stream and provides gases inert to combustion to act as absorbents of combustion heat to reduce peak in-cylinder temperatures. NOx is produced in high temperature mixtures of atmospheric nitrogen and oxygen that occur in the combustion cylinder, and this usually occurs at cylinder peak pressure. Another primary benefit of external EGR valves on a spark ignition engine is an increase in efficiency, as charge dilution allows a larger throttle position and reduces associated pumping losses. Mazda's turbocharged SkyActiv engine uses recirculated and cooled exhaust gases to reduce combustion chamber temperatures, thereby permitting the engine to run at higher boost levels before the air-fuel mixture must be enriched to prevent engine knocking.
A stratified charge engine describes a certain type of internal combustion engine, usually spark ignition (SI) engine that can be used in trucks, automobiles, portable and stationary equipment. The term "stratified charge" refers to the working fluids and fuel vapors entering the cylinder. Usually the fuel is injected into the cylinder or enters as a fuel rich vapor where a spark or other means are used to initiate ignition where the fuel rich zone interacts with the air to promote complete combustion. A stratified charge can allow for slightly higher compression ratios without "knock," and leaner air/fuel ratio than in conventional internal combustion engines.
A four-strokeengine is an internal combustion (IC) engine in which the piston completes four separate strokes while turning the crankshaft. A stroke refers to the full travel of the piston along the cylinder, in either direction. The four separate strokes are termed:
The Brayton cycle is a thermodynamic cycle that describes the operation of certain heat engines that have air or some other gas as their working fluid. The original Brayton engines used a piston compressor and piston expander, but modern gas turbine engines and airbreathing jet engines also follow the Brayton cycle. Although the cycle is usually run as an open system, it is conventionally assumed for the purposes of thermodynamic analysis that the exhaust gases are reused in the intake, enabling analysis as a closed system.
Forced induction is the process of delivering compressed air to the intake of an internal combustion engine. A forced induction engine uses a gas compressor to increase the pressure, temperature and density of the air. An engine without forced induction is considered a naturally aspirated engine.
Indirect injection in an internal combustion engine is fuel injection where fuel is not directly injected into the combustion chamber. Gasoline engines equipped with indirect injection systems, wherein a fuel injector delivers the fuel at some point before the intake valve, have mostly fallen out of favor to direct injection. However, certain manufacturers such as Volkswagen, Toyota and Ford have developed a 'dual injection' system, combining direct injectors with port (indirect) injectors, combining the benefits of both types of fuel injection. Direct injection allows the fuel to be precisely metered into the combustion chamber under high pressure which can lead to greater power, fuel efficiency. The issue with direct injection is that it typically leads to greater amounts of particulate matter and with the fuel no longer contacting the intake valves, carbon can accumulate on the intake valves over time. Adding indirect injection keeps fuel spraying on the intake valves, reducing or eliminating the carbon accumulation on intake valves and in low load conditions, indirect injection allows for better fuel-air mixing. This system is mainly used in higher cost models due to the added expense and complexity.
Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) is a form of internal combustion in which well-mixed fuel and oxidizer are compressed to the point of auto-ignition. As in other forms of combustion, this exothermic reaction releases energy that can be transformed in an engine into work and heat.
Variable compression ratio (VCR) is a technology to adjust the compression ratio of an internal combustion engine while the engine is in operation. This is done to increase fuel efficiency while under varying loads. Variable compression engines allow the volume above the piston at top dead centre to be changed. Higher loads require lower ratios to increase power, while lower loads need higher ratios to increase efficiency, i.e. to lower fuel consumption. For automotive use this needs to be done as the engine is running in response to the load and driving demands. The 2019 Infiniti QX50 is the first commercially available vehicle that uses a variable compression ratio engine.
In thermodynamics, the thermal efficiency is a dimensionless performance measure of a device that uses thermal energy, such as an internal combustion engine, steam turbine, steam engine, boiler, furnace, refrigerator, ACs etc.
The hot-bulb engine is a type of internal combustion engine in which fuel ignites by coming in contact with a red-hot metal surface inside a bulb, followed by the introduction of air (oxygen) compressed into the hot-bulb chamber by the rising piston. There is some ignition when the fuel is introduced, but it quickly uses up the available oxygen in the bulb. Vigorous ignition takes place only when sufficient oxygen is supplied to the hot-bulb chamber on the compression stroke of the engine.
Engine efficiency of thermal engines is the relationship between the total energy contained in the fuel, and the amount of energy used to perform useful work. There are two classifications of thermal engines-
Two-and-four-stroke engines are engines that combine elements from both two-stroke and four-stroke engines. They usually incorporate two pistons.
Internal combustion engines come in a wide variety of types, but have certain family resemblances, and thus share many common types of components.
An internal combustion engine is a heat engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber that is an integral part of the working fluid flow circuit. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high-pressure gases produced by combustion applies direct force to some component of the engine. The force is typically applied to pistons, turbine blades, a rotor, or a nozzle. This force moves the component over a distance, transforming chemical energy into kinetic energy which is used to propel, move or power whatever the engine is attached to. This replaced the external combustion engine for applications where the weight or size of an engine was more important.