Valve timing

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In a piston engine, the valve timing is the precise timing of the opening and closing of the valves. In an internal combustion engine those are usually poppet valves and in a steam engine they are usually slide valves or piston valves.


Internal combustion engines


In four-stroke cycle engines and some two-stroke cycle engines, the valve timing is controlled by the camshaft. It can be varied by modifying the camshaft, or it can be varied during engine operation by variable valve timing. It is also affected by the adjustment of the valve mechanism, and particularly by the tappet clearance. However, this variation is normally unwanted.

Valve overlap

Valve timing diagram for a 4-stroke engine Valve timing 4T.png
Valve timing diagram for a 4-stroke engine

With traditional fixed valve timing, an engine will have a period of "valve overlap" at the end of the exhaust stroke, when both the intake and exhaust valves are open. The intake valve is opened before the exhaust gases have completely left the cylinder, and their considerable velocity assists in drawing in the fresh charge. Engine designers aim to close the exhaust valve just as the fresh charge from the intake valve reaches it, to prevent either loss of fresh charge or unscavenged exhaust gas. In the diagram, the valve overlap periods are indicated by the overlap of the red and blue arcs. Key:

Either valve opens before the piston head reaches top dead centre or bottom dead centre. The amount in crankshaft degrees by which the valves open before top dead centre or bottom dead centre is reached is known as valve lead. The amount in crankshaft by which the valves close after top dead centre or bottom dead centre is reached is known as valve lag. Valve overlap is a secondary means to cool exhaust valves with intake air during valve overlap. Primary cooling is accomplished by dissipating heat to the valve seats. [1]

Variable valve timing

Engines that always run at a relatively high speed, such as race car engines, will have considerable overlap in their valve timings for maximum volumetric efficiency. Road car engines are different because they are required to idle at less than 1000rpm, and excessive valve overlap would make smooth idling impossible because of the mixing of fresh and exhaust gases. Variable valve timing can give both maximum power at high rpm and smooth idling at low rpm by making small changes to the relative angular position of the camshafts and thereby varying the valve overlap.

Ported engines

Two-Stroke engine showing ports in the cylinder walls. The timing cannot be varied Two-Stroke Engine.gif
Two-Stroke engine showing ports in the cylinder walls. The timing cannot be varied

Many two-stroke cycle and all wankel engines do not have a camshaft or valves, and the port timing can only be varied by machining the ports, and/or modifying the piston skirt (two-stroke applications). However, some supercharged two-stroke diesel engines (such as the Wilksch aero-engine) do have a cylinder head and poppet valves, similar to a four-stroke cycle engine.

Tappet clearance

The valve timing of a diesel engine also depends on tappet clearance of the inlet and exhaust valves.

If tappet clearance is less, then valve will open early and close late. [2] If tappet clearance is more, then valve will open late and close early. Tappet clearance is measured by an instrument called feeler gauge.

External combustion engines

In an external combustion engine, such as a steam engine, the control of the valve timing is by the valve gear. In a typical piston valve arrangement, the timing of the intake and exhaust events for each cylinder are inextricably related as they are governed by the movement of a single piston uncovering two ports. However, the duration of the intake event can be controlled (the "cut-off") using the reversing gear and this reduces steam usage under cruising conditions.

Caprotti valve gear is more closely related to that of an internal combustion engine, uses poppet valves, and was developed to allow independent timing of the intake and exhaust events. It was never used as widely as piston valves or the earlier slide valves.

See also

Related Research Articles

Miller cycle Thermodynamic cycle

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.

Two-stroke engine 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.

Sleeve valve

The sleeve valve is a type of valve mechanism for piston engines, distinct from the usual poppet valve. Sleeve valve engines saw use in a number of pre-World War II luxury cars and in the United States in the Willys-Knight car and light truck. They subsequently fell from use due to advances in poppet-valve technology, including sodium cooling, and the Knight system double sleeve engine's tendency to burn a lot of lubricating oil or to seize due to lack of it. The Scottish Argyll company used its own, much simpler and more efficient, single sleeve system (Burt-McCollum) in its cars, a system which, after extensive development, saw substantial use in British aircraft engines of the 1940s, such as the Napier Sabre, Bristol Hercules, Centaurus, and the promising but never mass-produced Rolls-Royce Crecy, only to be supplanted by the jet engines.

Poppet valve Type of valve

A poppet valve is a valve typically used to control the timing and quantity of gas or vapor flow into an engine.

Camshaft Mechanical component that converts rotational motion to reciprocal motion

The camshaft is a rotating object— usually made of metal— that contains pointed cams, which converts rotational motion to reciprocal motion. Camshafts are used in internal combustion engines, mechanically controlled ignition systems and early electric motor speed controllers. Camshafts in automobiles are made from steel or cast iron, and are a key factor in determining the RPM range of an engine's power band.

Four-stroke engine 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.
Valve gear Mechanism for controlling steam flow in a reciprocating steam engine.

The valve gear of a steam engine is the mechanism that operates the inlet and exhaust valves to admit steam into the cylinder and allow exhaust steam to escape, respectively, at the correct points in the cycle. It can also serve as a reversing gear. It is sometimes referred to as the "motion".

VTEC Automobile variable valve timing technology

VTEC is a system developed by Honda to improve the volumetric efficiency of a four-stroke internal combustion engine, resulting in higher performance at high RPM, and lower fuel consumption at low RPM. The VTEC system uses two camshaft profiles and hydraulically selects between profiles. It was invented by Honda engineer Ikuo Kajitani. It is distinctly different from standard VVT systems which change only the valve timings and do not change the camshaft profile or valve lift in any way.

Variable valve timing Process of altering the timing of a valve lift event

In internal combustion engines, variable valve timing (VVT) is the process of altering the timing of a valve lift event, and is often used to improve performance, fuel economy or emissions. It is increasingly being used in combination with variable valve lift systems. There are many ways in which this can be achieved, ranging from mechanical devices to electro-hydraulic and camless systems. Increasingly strict emissions regulations are causing many automotive manufacturers to use VVT systems.

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Alfa Romeo Twin Spark engine Motor vehicle engine

Alfa Romeo Twin Spark (TS) technology was used for the first time in the Alfa Romeo Grand Prix car in 1914. In the early 1960s it was used in their race cars to enable it to achieve a higher power output from its engines. And in the early and middle 1980s, Alfa Romeo incorporated this technology into their road cars to enhance their performance and to comply with stricter emission controls.

Valvetrain Mechanical system in an internal combustion engine

A valvetrain or valve train is a mechanical system that controls the operation of the intake and exhaust valves in an internal combustion engine. The intake valves control the flow of air/fuel mixture into the combustion chamber, while the exhaust valves control the flow of spent exhaust gasses out of the combustion chamber once combustion is completed.

The MA09ERT is a mass-produced SOHC internal combustion engine manufactured by Nissan Motors. It is a series-charged design, seldom seen in Japanese vehicles.

Scavenging (engine) Process used in internal combustion engines

Scavenging is the process of replacing the exhaust gas in a cylinder of an internal combustion engine with the fresh air/fuel mixture for the next cycle. If scavenging is incomplete, the remaining exhaust gases can cause improper combustion for the next cycle, leading to reduced power output.

Uniflow steam engine

The uniflow type of steam engine uses steam that flows in one direction only in each half of the cylinder. Thermal efficiency is increased by having a temperature gradient along the cylinder. Steam always enters at the hot ends of the cylinder and exhausts through ports at the cooler centre. By this means, the relative heating and cooling of the cylinder walls is reduced.

A bash valve is a valve within a piston engine, used to control the admission of the working fluid. They are directly actuated valves, operated by contact between the piston and the valve tip.

Internal combustion engine 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.

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  1. Bennett, Sean (February 2012). Medium/Heavy Duty Truck Engines, Fuel & Computerized Management Systems (4th ed.). Cengage Learning. ISBN   978-1111645694.
  2. "What is Tappet Clearance ? How to check and Adjust Tappet Clearance ?".