The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel (normally a fossil fuel) occurs with an oxidizer (usually air) in a combustion chamber that is an essential part of the engine. In an ICE (internal combustion engine) the expansion of the high-temperature and high-pressure gases produced by a combustion process apply by a piston compressing these gases within a chamber then igniting them at the right moment. The rapid expansion (explosion) of the gases causes the piston to move down through the chamber at a rapid rate turning a crankshaft (in a circular motion) hence creating power.
The phrase internal combustion engine more often than not refers to an engine in which combustion is intermittent, such as the additional familiar four-stroke and two-stroke piston engines, along with variants, such as the six-stroke piston engine and the Wankel rotary engine. A second class of internal combustion engines use continuous combustion: gas turbines, jet engines and most rocket engines, each of which are internal combustion engines on the same principle as previously described.
The ICE is quite dissimilar from external combustion engines, such as steam or Stirling engines, in which the energy is delivered to a working fluid not consisting of, mixed with, or contaminated by combustion products. Working fluids can be air, hot water, pressurized water or even liquid sodium, heated in some kind of boiler. ICEs are usually powered by energy-dense fuels such as gasoline or diesel, liquids derived from fossil fuels. While there are many stationary applications, most ICEs are used in mobile applications and are the dominant power supply for cars, aircraft, and boats.
Petrol engine is an internal combustion engine with spark-ignition, designed to run on petrol (gasoline) and more of volatile fuels. It was invented in 1876 in Europe. In most petrol engines, the fuel and air are regularly pre-mixed before compression (although some modern petrol engines now use cylinder-direct petrol injection). The pre-mixing was formerly done in a carburetor, but now it is done by electronically controlled fuel injection, except in small engines where the cost/complication of electronics does not justify the added engine efficiency. The process differs from a diesel engine in the method of mixing the fuel and air, and in using spark plugs to initiate the combustion process. In a diesel engine, only air is compressed (and therefore heated), and the fuel is injected into very hot air at the end of the compression stroke, and self-ignites.
Petrol engines run at superior speeds than diesels, partially due to their lighter pistons, connecting rods and crankshaft (a design efficiency made possible by lower compression ratios) and due to petrol burning faster than diesel. However the lower compression ratios of a petrol engine provide a lower efficiency than a diesel engine. To give an example, a petrol engine is like operating a bicycle in its lowest gear where each push from your feet adds little energy to the system, but you still expend energy to move your legs back to the TDC position.
A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel that has been injected into the combustion chamber. This is in contrast to spark-ignition engines such as a petrol engine (gasoline engine) or gas engine, which uses a spark plug to ignite an air-fuel mixture. The engine was developed by German inventor Rudolf Diesel in 1893. The diesel engine has the maximum thermal efficiency of any normal internal or external combustion engine due to its very high compression ratio. Low-speed diesel engines (as used in ships and other applications where overall engine weight is relatively unimportant) can have a thermal efficiency that exceeds 50%. Diesel engines are manufactured in two-stroke and four-stroke versions. They were initially used as a more efficient replacement for stationary steam engines. Since the 1910s they have been used in submarines and ships. Use in locomotives, trucks, heavy equipment and electric generating plants followed later. In the 1930s, they slowly began to be used in a few automobiles. Since the 1970s, the use of diesel engines in larger on-road and off-road vehicles in the USA increased. As of 2007, about 50% of all new car sales in Europe are diesel.The world’s prime diesel engine is currently a Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96-C Common Rail marine diesel of about 84,420 kW (113,210 hp) @ 102 rpm output. According to the British Society of Motor Manufacturing and Traders, the EU average for diesel cars account for 50% of the total sold, including in France – 70%, and in the UK – 38%.