History of the internal combustion engine

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Video montage of the Otto engines running at the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion (WMSTR), in Rollag, Minnesota. (2 min 16 s, 320x240, 340 kbit/s video)

Various scientists and engineers contributed to the development of internal combustion engines. In 1791, the English inventor John Barber patented a gas turbine. In 1794 Thomas Mead patented a gas engine. Also in 1794 Robert Street patented an internal-combustion engine, which was also the first to use liquid fuel (petroleum) and built an engine around that time. In 1798, John Stevens designed the first American internal combustion engine. In 1807, French engineers Nicéphore (who went on to invent photography) and Claude Niépce ran a prototype internal combustion engine, using controlled dust explosions, the Pyréolophore. This engine powered a boat on the Saône river, France. The same year, the Swiss engineer François Isaac de Rivaz built and patented a hydrogen and oxygen powered internal-combustion engine. The fuel was stored in a balloon and the spark was electrically ignited by a hand-operated trigger. Fitted to a crude four-wheeled wagon, François Isaac de Rivaz first drove it 100 meters in 1813, thus making history as the first car-like vehicle known to have been powered by an internal-combustion engine. In 1823, Samuel Brown patented the first internal combustion engine to be applied industrially in the U.S.; one of his engines pumped water on the Croydon Canal from 1830 to 1836. He also demonstrated a boat using his engine on the Thames in 1827, and an engine-driven carriage in 1828. Father Eugenio Barsanti, an Italian engineer, together with Felice Matteucci of Florence invented the first real internal combustion engine in 1853. Their patent request was granted in London on June 12, 1854, and published in London's Morning Journal under the title "Specification of Eugene Barsanti and Felix Matteucci, Obtaining Motive Power by the Explosion of Gasses". In 1860, Belgian Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir produced a gas-fired internal combustion engine. In 1864, Nicolaus Otto patented the first atmospheric gas engine. In 1872, American George Brayton invented the first commercial liquid-fueled internal combustion engine. In 1876, Nicolaus Otto, working with Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, patented the compressed charge, four-stroke cycle engine. In 1879, Karl Benz patented a reliable two-stroke gas engine. In 1892, Rudolf Diesel developed the first compressed charge, compression ignition engine. In 1926, Robert Goddard launched the first liquid-fueled rocket. In 1939, the Heinkel He 178 became the world's first jet aircraft. In 1954 German engineer Felix Wankel patented a "pistonless" engine using an eccentric rotary design.

Contents

Prior to 1860

al-Jazari's hydropowered saqiya chain pump device Al-Jazari Automata 1205.jpg
al-Jazari's hydropowered saqiya chain pump device
Model of the Barsanti-Matteucci engine (1853) in the Osservatorio Ximeniano in Florence Osservatorio ximeniano, modello del motore a scoppio barsanti-matteucci 03.JPG
Model of the Barsanti-Matteucci engine (1853) in the Osservatorio Ximeniano in Florence
Early internal combustion engines were used to power farm equipment similar to these models. Early-gasoline-engine-models.jpg
Early internal combustion engines were used to power farm equipment similar to these models.

1860–1920

Lenoir gas motor Lenoirmotor.jpg
Lenoir gas motor
Otto-Langen engine, 1860s. This engine is "atmospheric", meaning that it does not have compression Atmospharischer Ottomotor.jpg
Otto-Langen engine, 1860s. This engine is "atmospheric", meaning that it does not have compression
Sir Dugald Clerk's two cycle engine from 1879 Two-stroke vee-twin engine with pumping cylinders (section).jpg
Sir Dugald Clerk's two cycle engine from 1879
This internal combustion engine was an integral aspect of the patent for the first patented automobile, made by Karl Benz on January 29, 1886. Benz Patent Motorwagen Engine.jpg
This internal combustion engine was an integral aspect of the patent for the first patented automobile, made by Karl Benz on January 29, 1886.
Eugenio Barsanti Eugenio Barsanti.jpg
Eugenio Barsanti
Karl Benz CarlBenz.jpg
Karl Benz

1920–1980

1980 to present

Engine starting

Early internal combustion engines were started by hand cranking. Various types of starter motor were later developed. These included:

Electric starters are now almost universal for small and medium-sized engines, while pneumatic starters are used for large engines.

Modern vs. historical piston engines

The first piston engines did not have compression, but ran on an air-fuel mixture sucked or blown in during the first part of the intake stroke. The most significant distinction between modern internal combustion engines and the early designs is the use of compression of the fuel charge prior to combustion.

The problem of ignition of fuel was handled in early engines with an open flame and a sliding gate. To obtain a faster engine speed Daimler adopted a Hot Tube ignition which allowed 600 rpm immediately in his 1883 horizontal cylinder engine and very soon after over 900 rpm. Most of the engines of that time could not exceed 200 rpm due to their ignition and induction systems. [52]

The first practical engine, Lenoir's, ran on illuminating gas (coal gas). It wasn't until 1883, that Daimler created an engine that ran on liquid petroleum, a fuel called Ligroin which has a chemical makeup of Hexane-N. The fuel is also known as petroleum naphtha.

Otto's first engines were push engines which produced a push through the entire stroke (like a Diesel). Daimler's engines produced a rapid pulse, more suitable for mobile engine use.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Diesel engine</span> Type of internal combustion engine

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rudolf Diesel</span> German inventor and mechanical engineer (1858–1913)

Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel was a German inventor and mechanical engineer who is famous for having invented the diesel engine, which burns diesel fuel; both are named after him.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fuel injection</span> Feature of internal combustion engines

Fuel injection is the introduction of fuel in an internal combustion engine, most commonly automotive engines, by the means of an injector. This article focuses on fuel injection in reciprocating piston and Wankel rotary engines.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Diesel fuel</span> Liquid fuel used in diesel engines

Diesel fuel, also called diesel oil, is any liquid fuel specifically designed for use in a diesel engine, a type of internal combustion engine in which fuel ignition takes place without a spark as a result of compression of the inlet air and then injection of fuel. Therefore, diesel fuel needs good compression ignition characteristics.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Petrol engine</span> Internal combustion engine designed to run on gasoline

A petrol engine is an internal combustion engine designed to run on petrol (gasoline). Petrol engines can often be adapted to also run on fuels such as liquefied petroleum gas and ethanol blends.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Four-stroke engine</span> Internal combustion engine type

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:

  1. Intake: Also known as induction or suction. This stroke of the piston begins at top dead center (T.D.C.) and ends at bottom dead center (B.D.C.). In this stroke the intake valve must be in the open position while the piston pulls an air-fuel mixture into the cylinder by producing vacuum pressure into the cylinder through its downward motion. The piston is moving down as air is being sucked in by the downward motion against the piston.
  2. Compression: This stroke begins at B.D.C, or just at the end of the suction stroke, and ends at T.D.C. In this stroke the piston compresses the air-fuel mixture in preparation for ignition during the power stroke (below). Both the intake and exhaust valves are closed during this stage.
  3. Combustion: Also known as power or ignition. This is the start of the second revolution of the four stroke cycle. At this point the crankshaft has completed a full 360 degree revolution. While the piston is at T.D.C. the compressed air-fuel mixture is ignited by a spark plug or by heat generated by high compression, forcefully returning the piston to B.D.C. This stroke produces mechanical work from the engine to turn the crankshaft.
  4. Exhaust: Also known as outlet. During the exhaust stroke, the piston, once again, returns from B.D.C. to T.D.C. while the exhaust valve is open. This action expels the spent air-fuel mixture through the exhaust valve.
<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nicolaus Otto</span> German inventor

Nicolaus August Otto was a German engineer who successfully developed the compressed charge internal combustion engine which ran on petroleum gas and led to the modern internal combustion engine. The Association of German Engineers (VDI) created DIN standard 1940 which says "Otto Engine: internal combustion engine in which the ignition of the compressed fuel-air mixture is initiated by a timed spark", which has been applied to all engines of this type since.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Brayton cycle</span> Thermodynamic cycle

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Herbert Akroyd Stuart</span> English inventor

Herbert Akroyd-Stuart was an English inventor who is noted for his invention of the hot bulb engine, or heavy oil engine.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Otto engine</span> Large stationary single-cylinder internal combustion four-stroke engine

The Otto engine was a large stationary single-cylinder internal combustion four-stroke engine designed by the German Nicolaus Otto. It was a low-RPM machine, and only fired every other stroke due to the Otto cycle, also designed by Otto.

The term six-stroke engine has been applied to a number of alternative internal combustion engine designs that attempt to improve on traditional two-stroke and four-stroke engines. Claimed advantages may include increased fuel efficiency, reduced mechanical complexity, and/or reduced emissions. These engines can be divided into two groups based on the number of pistons that contribute to the six strokes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Free-piston engine</span>

A free-piston engine is a linear, 'crankless' internal combustion engine, in which the piston motion is not controlled by a crankshaft but determined by the interaction of forces from the combustion chamber gases, a rebound device and a load device.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Two-stroke diesel engine</span> Engine type

A two-stroke diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses compression ignition, with a two-stroke combustion cycle. It was invented by Hugo Güldner in 1899.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Air-blast injection</span>

Air-blast injection is a historical direct injection system for Diesel engines. Unlike modern designs, air-blast injected Diesel engines do not have an injection pump. A simple low-pressure fuel-feed-pump is used instead to supply the injection nozzle with fuel. At injection, a blast of compressed air presses the fuel into the combustion chamber, hence the name air-blast injection. The compressed air comes from compressed-air tanks which feed the injection nozzle. A large crankshaft-driven compressor is used to re-fill these tanks; the size of the compressor and the low rotational frequency of the engine's crankshaft means that air-blast injected Diesel engines are huge in size and mass, this, combined with the problem that air-blast injection does not allow for quick load alteration makes it only suitable for stationary applications and watercraft. Before the invention of precombustion chamber injection, air-blast injection was the only way a properly working internal air fuel mixture system could be built, required for a Diesel engine. During the 1920s, air-blast injection was rendered obsolete by superior injection system designs that allowed much smaller but more powerful engines. Rudolf Diesel was granted a patent on air-blast injection in November 1893.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Internal combustion engine</span> Engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber

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.

<i>Theory and Construction of a Rational Heat Motor</i> 1894 essay by German engineer Rudolf Diesel

Theory and Construction of a Rational Heat Motor is an essay written by German engineer Rudolf Diesel. It was composed in 1892, and first published by Springer in 1893. A translation into English followed in 1894. One thousand copies of the German first edition were printed. In this essay, Rudolf Diesel describes his idea of an internal combustion engine based on the Carnot cycle, transforming heat energy into kinetic energy using high pressure, with a thermal efficiency of up to 73%, outperforming any steam engine of the time.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Motor 250/400</span> Motor vehicle engine

The Motor 250/400 is the first functional diesel engine. It was designed by Rudolf Diesel, and drawn by Imanuel Lauster. The workshop of the Maschinenfabrik Augsburg built two units, the A-Motor, and the B-Motor. The latter has been on static display at the Deutsches Museum in Munich since testing it came to an end. Throughout the late 1890s, several licensed copies of the Motor 250/400 were made. Most of these copies were very unreliable, which almost caused the diesel engine's demise.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Imanuel Lauster</span> German engineer

Imanuel Lauster was a German engineer and businessman, who designed the first Diesel engine for Rudolf Diesel, and served as the head of M.A.N.'s board of directors from 1932 to 1934.

Friedrich Sass was a German engineer, university professor and historian.

Carl Hugo Güldner was a German engineer and inventor. He is best known for inventing the two-stroke diesel engine, and the valve overlap in internal combustion engines.

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Further reading