Naturally aspirated engine

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Typical airflow in a four-stroke engine:
In stroke #1, the pistons suck in (aspirate) air to the combustion chamber through the opened inlet valve. 4-Stroke-Engine-with-airflows numbers.gif
Typical airflow in a four-stroke engine:
In stroke #1, the pistons suck in (aspirate) air to the combustion chamber through the opened inlet valve.

A naturally aspirated engine, also known as a normally aspirated engine, and abbreviated to N/A or NA, is an internal combustion engine in which air intake depends solely on atmospheric pressure and does not have forced induction through a turbocharger or a supercharger. [1]



In a naturally aspirated engine, air for combustion (Diesel cycle in a Diesel engine or specific types of Otto cycle in petrol engines, namely petrol direct injection) or an air/fuel mixture (traditional Otto cycle petrol engines), is drawn into the engine's cylinders by atmospheric pressure acting against a partial vacuum that occurs as the piston travels downwards toward bottom dead centre during the intake stroke. Owing to innate restriction in the engine's inlet tract, which includes the intake manifold, a small pressure drop occurs as air is drawn in, resulting in a volumetric efficiency of less than 100 percent—and a less than complete air charge in the cylinder. The density of the air charge, and therefore the engine's maximum theoretical power output, in addition to being influenced by induction system restriction, is also affected by engine speed and atmospheric pressure, the latter of which decreases as the operating altitude increases.

This is in contrast to a forced-induction engine, in which a mechanically driven supercharger or an exhaust-driven turbocharger is employed to facilitate increasing the mass of intake air beyond what could be produced by atmospheric pressure alone. Nitrous oxide can also be used to artificially increase the mass of oxygen present in the intake air. This is accomplished by injecting liquid nitrous oxide into the intake, which supplies significantly more oxygen in a given volume than is possible with atmospheric air. Nitrous oxide is 36.3% available oxygen by mass after it decomposes as compared with atmospheric air at 20.95%. Nitrous oxide also boils at −127.3 °F (−88.5 °C) at atmospheric pressures and offers significant cooling from the latent heat of vaporization, which also aids in increasing the overall air charge density significantly compared to natural aspiration.

As a two-stroke Diesel engine is incapable of this natural aspiration, some method of charging the cylinders with scavenging air must be integrated into the engine design. This is usually achieved with a positive displacement blower driven by the crankshaft. The blower does not act as a supercharger in this application, as it is sized to produce a volume of air flow that is in direct proportion to engine's requirement for combustion, at a given power and speed. By the Society of Automotive Engineer's definition, a mechanically scavenged two-stroke diesel engine is considered to be naturally aspirated.


Most automobile petrol engines, as well as many small engines used for non-automotive purposes, are naturally aspirated. [2] Most modern diesel engines powering highway vehicles are turbocharged to produce a more favourable power-to-weight ratio, a higher torque curve, as well as better fuel efficiency and lower exhaust emissions. Turbocharging is nearly universal on diesel engines that are used in railroad, marine engines, and commercial stationary applications (electrical power generation, for example). Forced induction is also used with reciprocating aircraft engines to negate some of the power loss that occurs as the aircraft climbs to higher altitudes.

Advantages and disadvantages

The advantages and disadvantages of a naturally aspirated engine in relation to a same-sized engine relying on forced induction include:



See also

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Turbocharger</span> Exhaust-powered forced-induction device for engines

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

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

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Exhaust gas recirculation</span> NOx reduction technique used in gasoline and diesel 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. The exhaust gas displaces atmospheric air and reduces O2 in the combustion chamber. Reducing the amount of oxygen reduces the amount of fuel that can burn in the cylinder thereby reducing peak in-cylinder temperatures. The actual amount of recirculated exhaust gas varies with the engine operating parameters.

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<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">Roots-type supercharger</span> A positive displacement lobe pump

The Roots-type blower is a positive displacement lobe pump which operates by pumping a fluid with a pair of meshing lobes resembling a set of stretched gears. Fluid is trapped in pockets surrounding the lobes and carried from the intake side to the exhaust. The most common application of the Roots-type blower has been the induction device on two-stroke diesel engines, such as those produced by Detroit Diesel and Electro-Motive Diesel. Roots-type blowers are also used to supercharge four-stroke Otto cycle engines, with the blower being driven from the engine's crankshaft via a toothed or V-belt, a roller chain or a gear train.

Volumetric efficiency (VE) in internal combustion engine engineering is defined as the ratio of the mass density of the air-fuel mixture drawn into the cylinder at atmospheric pressure to the mass density of the same volume of air in the intake manifold. The term is also used in other engineering contexts, such as hydraulic pumps and electronic components.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Forced induction</span>

In an internal combustion engine, forced induction is where turbocharging or supercharging is used to increase the density of the intake air. Engines without forced induction are classified as naturally aspirated.

Manifold vacuum, or engine vacuum in an internal combustion engine is the difference in air pressure between the engine's intake manifold and Earth's atmosphere.

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Twin-turbo refers to an engine in which two turbochargers work in tandem to compress the intake fuel/air mixture. The most common layout features two identical or mirrored turbochargers in parallel, each processing half of a V engine's produced exhaust through independent piping. The two turbochargers can either be matching or different sizes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Turbo-diesel</span> Diesel engine with a turbocharger

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  1. Internal combustion and
  2. External combustion engines.
<span class="mw-page-title-main">Supercharger</span> Air compressor for an internal combustion engine

In an internal combustion engine, a supercharger compresses the intake gas, forcing more air into the engine in order to produce more power for a given displacement.

Exhaust pulse pressure charging (EPPC) is a system for supercharging two-stroke diesel engines of the loop-scavenge type. Loop-scavenge engines cannot be pressure-charged in the same way as uniflow engines or four-stroke engines because the inlet and exhaust ports are open at the same time.

<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.

Internal combustion engines come in a wide variety of types, but have certain family resemblances, and thus share many common types of components.

<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.


  1. "What is a normally aspirated engine?". 2008-09-02. Archived from the original on 2013-06-22. Retrieved 2015-10-18.
  2. "What is a Naturally Aspirated Engine ?". Private Fleet. Retrieved 2017-02-17. Most motor vehicle engines are naturally-aspirated engines; however, turbocharging and supercharging are currently a very popular way of boosting power output for a number car marques.