Internal Combustion Engine
Internal combustion engines (ICE) are widely used in various modes of transportation such as cars, boats, airplanes, trains, and ships. These engines are so named because they burn fuel to produce energy within the engine. This energy is used to do work and the remaining fuel and air mixture is expelled as exhaust. The engine can either use a piston, which is known as a reciprocating engine, or a turbine.
The working principle of internal combustion heat engines can be understood by considering the ideal gas law, where increasing the temperature of a gas increases the pressure and makes the gas want to expand. In an internal combustion engine, a chamber is used to ignite the fuel, which raises the temperature of the gas and causes it to expand. In a piston engine, this causes the piston to rise, which is attached to a crankshaft, thereby converting the energy input to useful work. The exhaust gas is then expelled to compress the piston in an intermittent combustion engine. To maintain a consistent temperature in the system, a heat sink is used.
On the other hand, a gas turbine uses continuous combustion and exhausts its gas continuously rather than in a cycle. An intermittent combustion engine is also known as a piston engine, while a continuous combustion engine is known as a turbine engine. Piston engines are more responsive and fuel-efficient at low outputs, making them ideal for vehicles, while turbines have a superior power-to-weight ratio and are more reliable for continuous high outputs, making them ideal for airplanes. Turbines also perform better than naturally aspirated piston engines at high altitudes and cold temperatures. Due to their light-weight design, reliability, and high-altitude capability, turbines are commonly used in airplanes and power plants for electrical generation.