In my previous post, I was talking about why burning of automobile gasoline produces pollutants. In this post I will discuss some technologies that make internal combustion engines better.
While the electric motors are on the way, we still cannot announce the demise of internal combustion engines (ICEs). How to improve ICEs?
Clean diesel, variable displacement, revised stop-start systems, direct injection, cylinder deactivation, turbochargers, variable displacement, variable valve timing and lift are some of the tips that make the ICEs better.
Let’s talk about each of them.
Direct injection. With direct injection, the fuel is mixed with air inside the cylinder, allowing the better control over the amount of used fuel and variations depending on demand (acceleration vs. cruising). This process makes the engine more fuel efficient.
Cylinder Deactivation. Cylinder deactivation feature is found on V6 and V8 engines. What does cylinder deactivation mean?
It means that ICEs with this feature can simply deactivate some cylinders when less power is required, therefore, temporarily reduce the total volume of the engine cylinders and burn less fuel.
Variable Displacement. Variable displacement is another way to improve the ICEs which could be done by turning off some of its cylinders. Since the throttle must be opened farther to get the same power from the remaining cylinders, intake-manifold vacuum goes down and efficiency goes up.
Variable Valve Timing and Lift. Different valve timings produce different results (more power, better fuel economy). Traditionally, valve timing was impossible, however many modern engines can do that now, allowing the default low RPM range of the engine to have more economical timing, and the higher RPM range to go for the maximum power. Variable valve timing and lift allows a smaller displacement engine to produce more peak power, this way allowing downsizing and fuel savings.
Turbochargers. Turbochargers allow combustion to generate more power as they increase the pressure inside cylinders, cramming more air. This process doesn’t make the engine more economical, though.
However, since a smaller displacement engine can generate more peak power, you still can downsize and save there easier.
Revised stop-start systems. It’s a great option to turn off an engine when stopped at a light as this way you can definitely save fuel. This action can be easily programmed with an engine-control computer to shut down an engine when the vehicle speed drops to zero and restart it when the driver removes his foot from the brake pedal. The starter and the battery might need to be beefed up to withstand more frequent use.
Hope you find these tips valuable.