Understanding engine configuration

An engine can be classified based on its configuration. Most engines that exist works using small controlled explosions to power a vehicle. Well, this method offers greater advantages to its applications over some types.

engine configuration


Read more: Types of automobile engine

Engine configuration

Knowing the various engine configuration is quite confusing but understanding this article will help you to distinguish. The engines have been classified based on the following stated below:

  • Number of strokes
  • Design
  • Ignition method
  • Numbers of the cylinders
  • Arrangements of the cylinder
  • Types of fuel used

Based on the number of strokes

Two stroke engine:

In two-stroke engines, the piston moves twice to produce the power stroke. That is one stroke upward from the BDC to TDC and the other downward from the TDC to BDC.

Four stroke engine:

The piston moves four times in this engine configuration. That is two upward and two downward movements in a single combustion cycle.

Six stroke engine:

Engines with six-stroke have greater advantages over two and four-stroke as they increased fuel efficiency, reduced mechanical complexity, and reduced emissions. These engines are divided into two groups based on the number of pistons that contribute to the six strokes.

Read more: Understanding the working of a flywheel 

In the single-piston designs, the engine captures the heat lost from the four-stroke m or Diesel cycle and uses it to drive an additional power and exhaust stroke of the piston in the same cylinder in an attempt to improve fuel efficiency and assist with engine cooling.

Based on design

Reciprocating engine:

Reciprocating engines have one or more pistons, helping to convert pressure into a rotating motion. The pistons are placed inside the cylinders, resulting in gas combustion when fuel and air are ignited.

Wankel engine:

The Wankel engine is known as a rotor engine, as it covert pressure into rotating motion. It is mostly found in racing cars, and It works using an eccentric rotary system. This engine configuration is simpler, smoother, and more compact. It produces more power pulses per revolution.

Diagram of engine configuration

Read more: Understanding an automobile valvetrain

Based on the ignition method

Compression ignition engine:

These engine configurations do not work with a spark plug but obtain its ignition from the compressed air. A diesel engine is a good example of this engine due to the fact that its works by compressing air.

The compression ignition engine offers great advantages as it reduced parasitic load on the engine and higher thermodynamic efficiency.

Spark ignition engine:

This engine configuration uses a spark plug in order to ignite the compressed air-fuel mixture. A petrol engine is a good example of these types of engines as it can only run on bioethanol, methanol, hydrogen, etc.

Based on the number of cylinders

Single-cylinder engine:

A single cylinder engine is known for its lightweight, compact, and outstanding weight to power ratio. It consists of a single-cylinder connected to the crankshaft. It is often found on a motor scooter, motorcycles, go-karts, and dirt bikes.

Read more: Things you must know about connecting rod

Double cylinder engine:

Just as it is being named, it consists of a two-cylinder, which is also connected to the crankshaft just like the single-cylinder engine.

Multiple cylinder engine:

These engine configurations are designed to achieve higher revolutions per minute (RPM) without struggling and offers excellent ability to neutralize imbalances. Multiple cylinder engines have more than two cylinders. It can be either three, four, six, twelve, or sixteen. Good examples of this engine are either compression or spark ignition engine, 2-stroke or 4-stroke engine.

Based on the arrangements of the cylinder

Vertical engine:

In these engine configurations, the arrangements of the cylinders are vertical.

Horizontal engine:

The cylinders are horizontally arranged.

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The pistons are aligned with the cylinders in two banks. It shows a V shape when viewed from the top. The purpose of the V shape is to prevent vibration and balancing issues.

W type engine:

The W engine configuration is made for 16 and 12-cylinder engines. The cylinders are arranged in 3 rows, forming a W shape.

Opposed cylinder engine:

Engines with opposed cylinders have excellent balancing and run smoothly because the connecting rod and the piston run identically. The cylinders are placed in opposite directions.

Based on the types of fuel used

Diesel engine:

Diesel serves as the main source of power

Petrol engine:

It uses petrol and air during the combustion cycle

Read more: Understanding an Automobile Engine

That is all for this post, where the various engine configuration is being explained. I hope you got a lot from the reading, if so, kindly share with other students. Thanks for reading, see you next time!

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