If an engine is to work successfully then it has to follow a cycle of operations in a sequential manner. The sequence is quite rigid and cannot be changed. In this topic the working principle of both spark-ignition (SI) and compression-ignition (CI) engines is described. Even though both engines have much in common there are certain fundamental differences. The credit of inventing the spark-ignition engine goes to Nicolaus A. Otto (1876) whereas compression-ignition engine was invented by Rudolf Diesel (1892). Therefore, they are often referred to as Otto engine and Diesel engine.
•Four-Stroke Spark-Ignition Engine
In a four-stroke engine, the cycle of operations is completed in four strokes of the piston or two revolutions of the crankshaft. During the four strokes, there are five events to be completed, viz., suction, compression, combus¬tion, expansion and exhaust. Each stroke consists of 180° of crankshaft rotation and hence a four-stroke cycle is completed through 720° of crank rotation. The cycle of operation for an ideal four-stroke SI engine consists of the following four strokes: Suction or intake stroke;
Expansion or power stroke and
•Four-Stroke Compression-ignition Engine
The four-stroke CI engine is similar to the four-stroke SI engine but it operates at a much higher compression ratio. The compression ratio of an SI engine is between 6 and 10 while for a CI engine it is from 16 to 20. In the CI engine during suction stroke, air, instead of a fuel-air mixture, is inducted. Due to the high compression ratio employed, the temperature at the end of the compression stroke is sufficiently high to self-ignite the fuel which is injected into the combustion chamber. In CI engines, a high pressure fuel pump and an injector are provided to inject the fuel into the combustion chamber. The carburetor and ignition system necessary in the SI engine are not required in...