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5.1 How Compressed Air Can Fuel engine
5.2 Air Car Disadvantages














1. Abstract:

This project work deals with the Compressed-air engine is a pneumatic actuator
that creates useful work by expanding compressed air. They have existed in many forms
over the past two centuries, ranging in size from hand held turbines up to several hundred
horsepower. Some types rely on pistons and cylinders, others use turbines. Many
compressed air engines improve their performance by heating the incoming air, or the
engine itself. Some took this a stage further and burned fuel in the cylinder or turbine,
forming a type of internal combustion engine.
There is currently some interest in developing air cars. Several engines have
been proposed for these, although none have demonstrated the performance and long life
needed for personal transport.

2. Introduction:

A compressed-air vehicle is powered by an air engine, using compressed air,

which is stored in a tank. Instead of mixing fuel with air and burning it in the engine to
drive pistons with hot expanding gases, compressed air vehicles (CAV) use the expansion
of compressed air to drive their pistons. One manufacturer claims to have designed an
engine that is 90 percent efficient.
Compressed air propulsion may also be incorporated in hybrid systems, e.g.,
battery electric propulsion and fuel tanks to recharge the batteries. This kind of system is
called hybrid-pneumatic electric propulsion. Additionally, regenerative braking can also
be used in conjunction with this system.


Today, internal combustion engines in cars, trucks, motorcycles, aircraft, construction

machinery and many others, most commonly use a four-stroke cycle. The four strokes
refer to intake, compression, combustion (power), and exhaust strokes that occur during
two crankshaft rotations per working cycle of the gasoline engine and diesel engine.
The cycle begins at Top Dead Center (TDC), when the piston is farthest away from the
axis of the crankshaft. A stroke refers to the full travel of the piston from Top Dead
Center (TDC) to Bottom Dead Center (BDC).
1. INTAKE stroke: On the intake or induction stroke of the piston , the piston descends
from the top of the cylinder to the bottom of the cylinder, reducing the pressure inside the
cylinder. A mixture of fuel and air is forced by atmospheric (or greater) pressure into the
cylinder through the intake port. The intake valve(s) then close.
2. COMPRESSION stroke: With both intake and exhaust valves closed, the piston returns
to the top of the cylinder compressing the fuel-air mixture. This is known as the
compression stroke.
3. POWER stroke.: While the piston is close to Top Dead Center, the compressed air
fuel mixture is ignited, usually by a spark plug (for a gasoline or Otto cycle engine) or by
the heat and pressure of compression (for a diesel cycle or compression ignition engine).
The resulting massive pressure from the combustion of the compressed fuel-air mixture
drives the piston back down toward bottom dead center with tremendous force. This is
known as the power stroke, which is the main source of the engine's torque and power.
4. EXHAUST stroke: During the exhaust stroke, the piston once again returns to top dead
center while the exhaust valve is open. This action evacuates the products of combustion
from the cylinder by pushing the spent fuel-air mixture through the exhaust valve(s).
In our project we have to modified these four strokes into totally two stoke with
the help of inner CAM alteration. In air engine we can design a new CAM which is
operate only Inlet stroke and exhaust stroke. Actually in four stroke engine the inlet and
exhaust valve opens only one time to complete the total full cycle. In that time the piston
moving from top dead center to bottom dead center for two times. A stroke refers to the
full travel of the piston from Top Dead Center (TDC) to Bottom Dead Center (BDC).
In our air engine project, we have to open inlet and exhaust valve in each and every
stroke of the engine so that it will convert the four stroke engine to two stroke engine by
modifying the CAM shaft of the engine.

Introduction and Mental Set

Two cycle engines are generally simpler in design and contain fewer components than 4cycle engines. As an example, most 2-cycle engines have no intake and exhaust valves.
The 2-cycle engine method of operation is different than the 4-cycle engine but many of
the components are the same. Let=s look at some similarities and differences between 2cycle and 4-cycle engines.

Produce transparency 1 from text.

2-cycle engines have these parts common to 4-cycle engines


Produce transparency 2 from text.

Common parts are:
$ cylinder head
$ cylinder
$ crankcase
$ piston
$ connecting rod
$ crankshaft
$ flywheel
$ CDI ignition
$ carburetor
$ exhaust muffler

2-cycle engines use a carburetor along with a reed valve or piston portal to
admit fuel/air mixture into the crankcase of the engine.
Main parts of a 2-cycle engine.
Cylinder/cylinder head. Depending on the engine application, the cylinder may
separate from the crankcase and be a single casting, combining the cylinder, cylinder
head, and intake and exhaust ports, or it may be separate parts.
Commonly, most cylinder head/cylinder units bolt onto the crankcase and are
sealed by a gasket at that point. This means that the piston and rings are installed from
the bottom of the cylinder.


Create transparency 3 or parts of 3a from text.

The cylinder provides a tube so a piston will travel in a linear


The cylinder must seal the gases for combustion.

The cylinder often contains intake fuel and exhaust gas passages
called ports.


Most 2-cycle small engines have a crankcase that is split, and often
is an important frame part of a piece of equipment. Show an
example of a chainsaw from transparency 3/3a.
The crankcase will provide a solid bearing surface where a nonfriction bearing (like rollers or needles) will be installed. The
crankshaft will ride on this surface.
The up and down (linear) motion of the piston is transferred by the
crankshaft into rotary motion in the crankcase.


The crankshaft transmits power to do work. It is an expensive cast
or forged steel unit and it is precision machined and balanced to the
It is often timed to the particular engine.
The crankshaft works with the flywheel to store energy during the
compression stroke which allows the engine to continue operating.
To do this, the crankshaft has four main parts. Create transparency 4.
$ Journals - machined surfaces that must be inspected for bearing
surface wear when overhaul.
$ Crank pin or connecting rod - must be inspected as well.
$ Throws - offsets which support the crankpins and provide
leverage to rotate the crankshaft.
$ Counterweights - a balance to the throws, opposite the crank
Bearings and bushings are often used in the crankshaft/ connecting
rod area and may be a plain bearing or an anti-friction bearing, such
as needle or ball bearing.


Connecting Rod
The connecting rod is the piece of the engine that converts linear
motion to rotary motion.
It must be strong, but light.


The connecting rod links the piston to the crankshaft. (transparency

1. The piston pin or wrist pin goes into the eye while the cap and
cap bolts connect the rod to the crankshaft.
2. At rebuild, the rod and crankshaft connection must be checked
along with the piston/rod combination.

The piston is a cast or forged item machined with grooves to fit a cylinder.
It has lands, or grooves that accept piston rings. The rings expand and push out against
the cylinder wall to provide a seal for the combustion gases. The rings are cast of hardened steel
and are measured during engine removal.
The wrist pin and its retaining locks connect the piston to the connecting rod by
connecting through the piston body and eye of the connecting rod.
Display and discuss transparency 4.
The 2-cycle engine
The best description of a 2-cycle engine is to say that the fuel/air mix is moved by the
high pressure created by the piston in the crankcase.
A 2-cycle engine must have oil mixed with gasoline in the proper ratio for long life and
efficient operation.
A 2-cycle engine must have a clean muffler through which exhaust gases flow through.
If the muffler is clogged, and exhaust cannot pass gases through, the engine will not run.
The carburetor is connected to the crankcase. The oil in the fuel/air mix lubricates the
engine=s internal parts.
A reed valve may be used to help the fuel/air mix compress more in the crankcase.
The two-cycle engine has 2 cycles; a compression stroke and a power stroke.
As the piston moves upward, compressing a fuel/air charge in the cylinder, a low pressure
area is created in the crankcase.
The low pressure area increases until the piston moves past the intake port, or until there
is enough pressure to pull the reed valve open. When this happens, the fuel/air mixture is pulled
through the carburetor.
The piston is now at the top of the cylinder. Ignition occurs, and the piston moves down.
This back pressure compresses the fuel/air mix. As soon as the piston covers the intake port, or
closes the reed valve, the mixture is compressed further.

The piston moves down further, compressing the fuel/air mixture until a transfer port is
uncovered by the piston. The mixture moves rapidly up the port, into the cylinder, pushing the
exhaust gases out of the exhaust port and filling the cylinder with the explosive fuel/air mix.




The carburetors used on small 2-cycle engines work the same way as
4-cycle carburetors.
The 4-cycle and 2-cycle engines share:
throttle plate
choke plate
fuel/air mixture needles, often a high and low mixture
Air moves from high to low pressure areas.
When air is restricted, a low pressure area is created as airspeed
increases. This allows for fuel to be pumped.
Demonstrate using information from 4-cycle engines.
Ignition System
Most all 2-cycle engines have a sold-state ignition system.
2-cycle ignition systems operate on the same electromagnetic
theories as 4-cycle ignition systems (use transparency from 4-cycle
The flywheel is used in the creation of an electric spark and it is also
used to force air through the housing to cool the motor.

How Compressed Air Can Fuel engine

The laws of physics dictate that uncontained gases will fill any given space. The easiest way to
see this in action is to inflate a balloon. The elastic skin of the balloon holds the air tightly inside,
but the moment you use a pin to create a hole in the balloon's surface, the air expands outward
with so much energy that the balloon explodes. Compressing a gas into a small space is a way to
store energy. When the gas expands again, that energy is released to do work. That's the basic
principle behind what makes an air car go.
The first air cars will have air compressors built into them. After a brisk drive, you'll be able to
take the car home, put it into the garage and plug in the compressor. The compressor will use air
from around the car to refill the compressed air tank. Unfortunately, this is a rather slow method
of refueling and will probably take up to two hours for a complete refill. If the idea of an air car
catches on, air refueling stations will become available at ordinary gas stations, where the tank
can be refilled much more rapidly with air that's already been compressed. Filling your tank at
the pump will probably take about three minutes
The first air cars will almost certainly use the Compressed Air Engine (CAE) developed by the
French company, Motor Development International (MDI). Air cars using this engine will have
tanks that will probably hold about 3,200 cubic feet (90.6 kiloliters) of compressed air. The
vehicle's accelerator operates a valve on its tank that allows air to be released into a pipe and then
into the engine, where the pressure of the air's expansion will push against the pistons and turn
the crankshaft. This will produce enough power for speeds of about 35 miles (56 kilometers) per
hour. When the air car surpasses that speed, a motor will kick in to operate the in-car air
compressor so it can compress more air on the fly and provide extra power to the engine. The air
is also heated as it hits the engine, increasing its volume to allow the car to move faster

Air Car Advantages

One major advantage of using compressed air to power a car's engine is that a pure compressed
air vehicle produces no pollution at the tailpipe. More specifically, the compressed air cars we're
likely to see in the near future won't pollute at all until they reach speeds exceeding 35 miles per
hour. That's when the car's internal air compressor will kick in to achieve extra speed. The motor
that runs this air compressor will require fuel that'll produce a small amount of air pollution.

Some fuel (you can use eco-friendly biofuels or fossil fuels) will also be used to heat the air as it
emerges from the tank. The newest compressed air engines also offer drivers the option of using
fossil fuels or biofuels to heat the air as it enters the engine. Nonetheless, this technology
represents a marked improvement over cars powered by internal combustion engines that
produce significant amounts of pollution at any speed.
Air cars are also designed to be lighter than conventional cars. The aluminum construction of
these vehicles will keep their weight under 2,000 pounds (907 kilograms), which is essential to
making these vehicles fuel efficient and will help them go faster for longer periods of time.
Another advantage of air cars is that the fuel should be remarkably cheap, an important
consideration in this era of volatile gas prices. Some estimates say that the cars will get the
equivalent of 106 miles (171 kilometers) per gallon, although compressed air will probably not
be sold by the gallon. A more meaningful estimate is that it may take as little as $2 worth of
electricity to fill the compressed air tank, though you'll also need gasoline to power the electric
motor that compresses air while driving
The vehicles themselves also will be relatively cheap. Zero Pollution Motors, which plans to
release the first air cars in the United States and estimates a sticker price of about $17,800, which
would make these cars affordable to budget-conscious American buyers
Air Car Disadvantages
While an air car produces no pollution running on already compressed air in its tank, pollution is
nonetheless produced when the air is compressed, both while the car is moving and while it's
being refueled. As we mentioned earlier, the vehicle's air compressor will probably run on
gasoline, and this gas will produce pollution when burned.
The air compressor at the gas station will probably be powered by electricity. The production of
that electricity may or may not pollute, depending on how that electricity is generated. For
example, coal-powered electricity could produce substantial amounts of pollution. Cleaner
sources of electricity, such as nuclear power or hydropower, will result in far less pollution.
According to the Web site Gas 2.0, an air car in the United States would create about .176
pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per mile based on the average mix of electric power sources
during refueling. By comparison, a Toyota Prius Hybrid, which combines a battery-powered
electric motor with an internal combustion engine, generates about 0.34 pounds of carbon
dioxide per mile. So, while the air car is not quite pollution free, it still represents an
improvement over one of the most popular hybrid cars on the market
Distance could also become a disadvantage, depending on your travel habits. The distance that
an air car can cover without refueling is crucial because very few filling stations will have

compressed air pumps available at first. If you only plan to use your air car for short commutes -distances less than 100 miles --will be fine. However, the one-to-two hour wait for the car's builtin air compressor to compress a tank full of air could become a problem on cross-country trips.
Zero Pollution Motors -- the American arm of MDI and the company likeliest to produce the first
air car for the U.S. market -- aims to have a car available soon able to travel between 800 and
1,000 miles on one tank of air plus 8 gallons of gas
Early prototypes, however, have traveled distances closer to 120 miles -- good enough for your
daily commute, but not quite adequate for longer trips
What will happen if an air car suffers damage in an accident? After all, compressed air tanks can
be dangerous. To reduce this danger, the air tanks are made of carbon fiber and are designed to
crack, rather than shatter, in a crash. This crack would allow the "fuel" to escape harmlessly into
the surrounding air. Manufacturers feared that air escaping from one end of the tank could
produce a rocket-like effect and propel the car on a jet of air. The valve on the cars' fuel tanks
has been placed on the side to minimize this effect.
Despite these precautions, there is some concern that the air cars' lightweight construction might
make it difficult for them to pass stringent American safety requirements and that this could hold
up the arrival of air cars in the U.S. marketplace. Other factors have come to the forefront as
well, and we'll learn about those next.

Air Cars in the Marketplace

India's Tata Motors will likely produce the first air car in the marketplace in the next few years.
Tata Motors' air car will also use the CAE engine. Although Tata announced in August 2008 that
they aren't quite ready to roll out their air cars for mass production, Zero Pollution Motors still
plans to produce a similar vehicle in the United States. Known collectively as the FlowAIR,
these cars will cost about $17,800. The company, based in New Paltz, N.Y., says that it will start
taking reservations in mid-2009 for vehicle deliveries in 2010. The company plans to roll out
10,000 air cars in the first year of production [source: Max]. MDI also recently unveiled the
joystick-driven AirPod, the newest addition to its air car arsenal. Although the AirPod generates
a top speed of only 43 mph, it's also extremely light and generates zero emissions.
Major automobile makers are watching the air car market with interest. If the first models catch
on with consumers, they'll likely develop their own air car models. At present, a few smaller


companies are planning to bring air cars to the market in the wake of the MDI-based vehicles.
These include:

K'Airmobiles -- French company K'Air Energy has built prototypes of an air-fueled

bicycle and light road vehicle based on the K'air air compression engine

Air Car Factories SA -- This Spanish company has an air car engine currently in
development. The company's owner is currently involved in a dispute with former
employer MDI over the rights to the technology

Initially, the MDI cars will be the only air vehicles on the market. However, MDI has
reportedly licensed the technology to manufacturers in a dozen different countries, so air
cars should be available around the world soon.

Teachers Introduction

Pneumatics is used extensively in industry as well as in many everyday applications. As a

method of completing tasks it has many distinct advantages in terms of energy consumption, cost
and safety. It is important therefore that students gain an understanding of the benefits of
pneumatics as well as the obvious limitations.

When the students have completed this unit of work they should be able to:

interpret pneumatic systems and circuit diagrams

describe the operation of pneumatic systems

pipe-up/construct pneumatic systems

have an appreciation of safety requirements when operating pneumatic systems

perform calculations to determine cylinder pressure, piston force and area

evaluate pneumatic systems.



This unit is split into three distinct sections:

Section 1 Pneumatic systems

Section 2 Electronic control

Section 3 Programmable control.

It is recommended that these sections be delivered in this order. This provides the student with a
natural progression through the course. The content of the unit is set out comprehensively so that
teachers do not require the use of additional notes or textbooks. It allows pupils to move at their
own pace in many areas but it must be stressed that these unit notes should not be used as an
open-learning pack. It will be necessary to deliver many important lessons at crucial times.

The materials are intended to be non-consumable; however, this is at the discretion of each
centre. A consumable project report template has been included for each section of work to
provide a structure for reporting work on assignments.

Section 1 Pneumatic systems

This section is concerned primarily with the basic components and operation of pneumatic
circuits. It covers topics such as cylinders, valves, AND/OR control, time delays, air bleeds, and
automatic and sequential circuits. A section of the unit is also dedicated to relevant calculations
involving force, pressure and area.


Wherever possible, use should be made of computer simulation. Throughout these teaching
materials, reference will be made to the FluidSIM package produced by Festo Didactic, but other
packages could be used. Such software not only provides the facility to construct pneumatic
circuits and test them but also to run video clips showing practical uses of pneumatic systems.
This is invaluable to the teaching of this unit as it provides the students with a reference point in
the real world. The simulations also enhance the practical aspect of this unit.

Problem solving
Students will be required to design, construct and evaluate pneumatic systems to given
specifications. A report template has been included to allow a common approach to solving
problems. This will help students lay out their work in an appropriate way as well as preparing
them for the format of the internal assessment. It also provides students with a detailed record of
their work.

Problem solving is presented in the form of assignments. It is anticipated that much of the
designing will be completed using simulation software; however, it is also important that
students develop a knowledge of real components and the necessary expertise in connecting
components together.

A series of homework tasks has been included. These contain a range of questions taken from the
whole course. The teacher should ensure that homework tasks are issued at an appropriate time
to coincide with work in class. It may also facilitate the issue and marking of homework if these
tasks are completed on consumable photocopied sheets. Again, this is at the discretion of the
centre. Alternatively, these questions could be used for revision purposes.

Section 2 Electronic control

It is recommended that this section be completed after Applied Electronics. This will allow
students to extend the work done in this area and demonstrate their understanding further by
controlling pneumatic circuits. It also provides excellent opportunities for integration and a
facility to extend the problem-solving aspect of the course.

Where appropriate, students should make use of a report sheet to record their solutions to the
problems set out in the assignments.

Section 3 Programmable control

It is recommended that this section be completed after Programmable Control. This will provide
the opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of control as well as
their problem-solving skills. In addition, it provides and excellent opportunity for integration and
allows the students to revisit pneumatics, helping to keep this area of study fresh in their minds.

It is recommended that students make use of a report template to provide a structure for reporting
work on assignments.


The majority of resources required to complete this unit are the same as those being used in
Technological Studies at present.

Single-acting spring return cylinders

Double-acting cylinders

3/2 push-button spring return valves

A variety of 3/2 valves with different actuators

5/2 pilot air-operated valves

Solenoid valves


Flow restrictor valves

Circuit simulation software

In addition, the following are required for completion of sections 2 and 3.

Stamp controller

Inputs module

Output driver

Modular electronic boards

Teachers are also encouraged to use any other available resources such as videos and interactive
This unit of work and the exercises within will prepare the pupils for any pneumatic questions
that appear in the 90-minute exam at the end of the course. It will enable all pupils to gain the
knowledge and understanding required and give them suitable practice in reasoning and
numerical analysis.
Section 1: Pneumatic Systems
Pneumatics is something that you probably know very little about yet come across every day
without even realising it. Some examples of everyday pneumatic systems are shown below. How
many do you recognise?


Figure 1

Pneumatics is also used a lot in industry and you would expect to see pneumatic systems in
factories, production lines and processing plants. It can be used to do lots of different jobs such
as moving, holding or shaping objects.






Figure 2
Every one of these pneumatic systems makes use of compressed air. Compressed air is quite
simply the air that we breathe forced or squashed into a smaller space. We can use the energy
stored in this compressed air to do things.
To understand how compressed air is able to do things, lets think of a ball. If we blow up the
ball so that it is full, it will contain a lot of compressed air. If we bounce the ball, it will bounce
very high. However, if the ball is burst then the compressed air will escape and the ball will not
bounce as high. Quite simply, the ball bounces because it is using the energy stored in the
compressed air.

Figure 3


Basically, all pneumatic systems make use of compressed air to do work. We can show this in a
systems diagram.




Figure 4
Advantages of pneumatics

There are usually lots of different ways to carry out a task, so it is important to understand some
of the reasons for choosing pneumatic systems.

Pneumatic systems are clean because they use compressed air. We know already that this is just
the air we breathe forced into small spaces. If a pneumatic system develops a leak, it will be air
that escapes and not oil. This air will not drip or cause a mess and this makes pneumatics suitable
for food production lines.

Pneumatic systems are very safe compared to other systems. We cannot, for example, use
electronics for paint spraying because many electronic components produce sparks and this could
cause the paint to catch fire.

It is important, however, that we look after and maintain the different components. It is also
important that we follow the correct safety rules.


Pneumatic systems are very reliable and can keep working for a long time. Many companies
invest in pneumatics because they know they will not have a lot of breakdowns and that the
equipment will last for a long time.

If we compare pneumatic systems to other systems, we find that they are cheaper to run. This is
because the components last for a long time and because we are using compressed air. Many
factories already have compressed air for other reasons.

Once you have bought the basic components, you can set them up to carry out different tasks.
Pneumatic systems are easy to install and they do not need to be insulated or protected like
electronic systems.

Assignment 1
1. Give three examples of the everyday use of pneumatics.
2. Choose one of your examples from question 1. Draw a system diagram and describe how it
makes use of compressed air.
3. What is compressed air?
4. Think about blowing up a balloon. What happens to the balloon if you let it go? Why does
this happen?
5. Give two reasons why pneumatic systems are used in industry.


Supplying compressed air

We know already that pneumatic systems need compressed air to make them work. A bicycle
pump can produce compressed air. This is all right for inflating the tyres on your bicycle, but can
you imagine trying to blow up all the tyres on a lorry using this? You would soon become tired,
exhausted even.

In order to supply pneumatic systems with compressed air we use a machine called a
compressor. Compressors come in lots of different shapes and sizes but they all work in the same

Figure 5

A pump that is driven by a motor, sucks in air from the room and stores it in a tank called the
receiver. You will be able to hear the compressor when it is running. Sometimes though, it will
stop because the receiver is full.

Ask your teacher to see the compressor that will be supplying your compressed air.

Not everyone in your class could connect directly to the compressor, as this is not practical.
Instead, a pipe takes the compressed air from the receiver to various points around the room. We

would normally connect a device called a manifold to these points. The manifold lets us connect
lots of components to the compressed air. It also lets us switch our circuits on and off.



Pneumatic Systems
1 Pneumatic systems
A pneumatic system is a system that uses compressed air to transmit and control energy.
Pneumatic systems are used in controlling train doors, automatic production lines, mechanical
clamps, etc (Fig. 1).


(a) Automobile production lines

(b) Pneumatic system of an automatic machine

Fig. 1 Common pneumatic systems used in the industrial sector

(a) The advantages of pneumatic systems

Pneumatic control systems are widely used in our society, especially in the industrial sectors for
the driving of automatic machines. Pneumatic systems have a lot of advantages.

(i) High effectiveness

Many factories have equipped their production lines with compressed air supplies and movable
compressors. There is an unlimited supply of air in our atmosphere to produce compressed air.
Moreover, the use of compressed air is not restricted by distance, as it can easily be transported
through pipes. After use, compressed air can be released directly into the atmosphere without
the need of processing.

(ii) High durability and reliability

Pneumatic components are extremely durable and can not be damaged easily. Compared to
electromotive components, pneumatic components are more durable and reliable.

(iii) Simple design

The designs of pneumatic components are relatively simple. They are thus more suitable for use
in simple automatic control systems.
(iv) High adaptability to harsh environment
Compared to the elements of other systems, compressed air is less affected by high temperature,
dust, corrosion, etc.


(v) Safety
Pneumatic systems are safer than electromotive systems because they can work in inflammable
environment without causing fire or explosion. Apart from that, overloading in pneumatic
system will only lead to sliding or cessation of operation. Unlike electromotive components,
pneumatic components do not burn or get overheated when overloaded.

(vi) Easy selection of speed and pressure

The speeds of rectilinear and oscillating movement of pneumatic systems are easy to adjust and
subject to few limitations. The pressure and the volume of air can easily be adjusted by a
pressure regulator.

(vii) Environmental friendly

The operation of pneumatic systems do not produce pollutants. The air released is also
processed in special ways. Therefore, pneumatic systems can work in environments that demand
high level of cleanliness. One example is the production lines of integrated circuits.

(viii) Economical
As pneumatic components are not expensive, the costs of pneumatic systems are quite low.
Moreover, as pneumatic systems are very durable, the cost of repair is significantly lower than
that of other systems.

(b) Limitations of pneumatic systems

Although pneumatic systems possess a lot of advantages, they are also subject to many

(i) Relatively low accuracy


As pneumatic systems are powered by the force provided by compressed air, their operation is
subject to the volume of the compressed air. As the volume of air may change when compressed
or heated, the supply of air to the system may not be accurate, causing a decrease in the overall
accuracy of the system.


(ii) Low loading

As the cylinders of pneumatic components are not very large, a pneumatic system cannot drive
loads that are too heavy.

(iii) Processing required before use

Compressed air must be processed before use to ensure the absence of water vapour or dust.
Otherwise, the moving parts of the pneumatic components may wear out quickly due to friction.

(iv) Uneven moving speed

As air can easily be compressed, the moving speeds of the pistons are relatively uneven.

(v) Noise
Noise will be produced when compressed air is released from the pneumatic components.

(c) Main pneumatic components

Pneumatic components can be divided into two categories:
1. Components that produce and transport compressed air.
2. Components that consume compressed air.
All main pneumatic components can be represented by simple pneumatic symbols. Each symbol
shows only the function of the component it represents, but not its structure. Pneumatic symbols
can be combined to form pneumatic diagrams. A pneumatic diagram describes the relations
between each pneumatic component, that is, the design of the system.

2 The production and transportation of compressed air


Examples of components that produce and transport compressed air include compressors and
pressure regulating components.

(a) Compressor
A compressor can compress air to the required pressures. It can convert the mechanical energy
from motors and engines into the potential energy in compressed air (Fig. 2). A single central
compressor can supply various pneumatic components with compressed air, which is transported
through pipes from the cylinder to the pneumatic components. Compressors can be divided into
two classes: reciprocatory and rotary.


(a) Compressor used in schools (b) Compressor used in



Pneumatic symbol of

a compressor

Fig. 2

(b) Pressure regulating component

Pressure regulating components are formed by various components, each of which has its own
pneumatic symbol:

Filter can remove impurities from compressed air before it is fed to the pneumatic
Pressure regulator to stabilise the pressure and regulate the operation of pneumatic

Lubricator To provide lubrication for pneumatic components


(a) Pressure regulating component

(b) Pneumatic symbols of the pneumatic

components within a pressure

regulating component
Fig. 3


3 The consumption of compressed air

Examples of components that consume compressed air include execution components
(cylinders), directional control valves and assistant valves.

(a) Execution component

Pneumatic execution components provide rectilinear or rotary movement. Examples of
pneumatic execution components include cylinder pistons, pneumatic motors, etc. Rectilinear
motion is produced by cylinder pistons, while pneumatic motors provide continuous rotations.
There are many kinds of cylinders, such as single acting cylinders and double acting cylinders.

(i) Single acting cylinder

A single acting cylinder has only one entrance that allows compressed air to flow through.
Therefore, it can only produce thrust in one direction (Fig. 4). The piston rod is propelled in the
opposite direction by an internal spring, or by the external force provided by mechanical
movement or weight of a load (Fig. 5).

Fig. 4 Cross section of a single acting cylinder


Fig. 5 (a) Single acting cylinder

(b) Pneumatic symbol of a

single acting cylinder

The thrust from the piston rod is greatly lowered because it has to overcome the force from the
spring. Therefore, in order to provide the driving force for machines, the diameter of the
cylinder should be increased. In order to match the length of the spring, the length of the
cylinder should also be increased, thus limiting the length of the path. Single acting cylinders are
used in stamping, printing, moving materials, etc.


(ii) Double acting cylinder

In a double acting cylinder, air pressure is applied alternately to the relative surface of the piston,
producing a propelling force and a retracting force (Fig. 6). As the effective area of the piston is
small, the thrust produced during retraction is relatively weak. The impeccable tubes of double
acting cylinders are usually made of steel. The working surfaces are also polished and coated
with chromium to reduce friction.

Fig. 6 Cross section of a double acting cylinder

(b) Pneumatic symbol of a double

Fig. 7 (a) Double acting cylinder

acting cylinder

(b) Directional control valve

Directional control valves ensure the flow of air between air ports by opening, closing and
switching their internal connections. Their classification is determined by the number of ports,

the number of switching positions, the normal position of the valve and its method of operation.
Common types of directional control valves include 2/2, 3/2, 5/2, etc. The first number
represents the number of ports; the second number represents the number of positions. A
directional control valve that has two ports and five positions can be represented by the drawing
in Fig. 8, as well as its own unique pneumatic symbol.

Fig. 8 Describing a 5/2 directional control valve


(i) 2/2 Directional control valve

The structure of a 2/2 directional control valve is very simple. It uses the thrust from the spring
to open and close the valve, stopping compressed air from flowing towards working tube A
from air inlet P. When a force is applied to the control axis, the valve will be pushed open,
connecting P with A (Fig. 9). The force applied to the control axis has to overcome both air
pressure and the repulsive force of the spring. The control valve can be driven manually or
mechanically, and restored to its original position by the spring.

Fig. 9 (a) 2/2 directional control valve

(b) Cross section

(c) Pneumatic symbol of a

2/2 directional control

(ii) 3/2 Directional control valve

A 3/2 directional control valve can be used to control a single acting cylinder (Fig. 10). The
open valves in the middle will close until P and A are connected together. Then another
valve will open the sealed base between A and R (exhaust). The valves can be driven
manually, mechanically, electrically or pneumatically. 3/2 directional control valves can further
be divided into two classes: Normally open type (N.O.) and normally closed type (N.C.) (Fig.

Fig. 10 (a) 3/2 directional control valve

(b) Cross section


(a) Normally closed type

(b) Normally open type

Fig. 11 Pneumatic symbols

(iii) 5/2 Directional control valve
When a pressure pulse is input into the pressure control port P, the spool will move to the left,
connecting inlet P and work passage B. Work passage A will then make a release of air
through R1 and R2. The directional valves will remain in this operational position until
signals of the contrary are received. Therefore, this type of directional control valves is said to
have the function of memory.

(a) 5/2 directional control valve

(b) Cross section

(c) Pneumatic symbol

Fig. 12 5/2 directional control valve

(c) Control valve

A control valve is a valve that controls the flow of air. Examples include non-return valves, flow
control valves, shuttle valves, etc.

(i) Non-return valve

A non-return valve allows air to flow in one direction only. When air flows in the opposite
direction, the valve will close. Another name for non-return valve is poppet valve (Fig. 13).

Fig. 13 (a) Non-return valve (b) Cross section

(c) Pneumatic symbol

(ii) Flow control valve

A flow control valve is formed by a non-return valve and a variable throttle (Fig. 14).

Fig. 14 (a) Flow control valve

(b) Cross section


(c) Pneumatic symbol

(iii) Shuttle valve

Shuttle valves are also known as double control or single control non-return valves. A shuttle
valve has two air inlets P1 and P2 and one air outlet A. When compressed air enters through
P1, the sphere will seal and block the other inlet P2. Air can then flow from P1 to A. When
the contrary happens, the sphere will block inlet P1, allowing air to flow from P2 to A only.

Fig. 15 (a) Shuttle valve

(b) Cross section


(c) Pneumatic symbol

4 Principles of pneumatic control

(a) Pneumatic circuit
Pneumatic control systems can be designed in the form of pneumatic circuits. A pneumatic
circuit is formed by various pneumatic components, such as cylinders, directional control valves,
flow control valves, etc. Pneumatic circuits have the following functions:
1. To control the injection and release of compressed air in the cylinders.
2. To use one valve to control another valve.

(b) Pneumatic circuit diagram

A pneumatic circuit diagram uses pneumatic symbols to describe its design. Some basic rules
must be followed when drawing pneumatic diagrams.

(i) Basic rules



A pneumatic circuit diagram represents the circuit in static form and assumes there is no
supply of pressure. The placement of the pneumatic components on the circuit also
follows this assumption.
The pneumatic symbol of a directional control valve is formed by one or more squares.
The inlet and exhaust are drawn underneath the square, while the outlet is drawn on the
top. Each function of the valve (the position of the valve) shall be represented by a
square. If there are two or more functions, the squares should be arranged horizontally
(Fig. 16).

Fig. 16 3/2 directional control valve

Fig 17 3/2 directional control valve


(normally closed type)



(normally closed type)

Arrows "" are used to indicate the flow direction of air current. If the external port is
not connected to the internal parts, the symbol is used. The symbol underneath
the square represents the air input, while the symbol represents the exhaust. Fig. 17
shows an example of a typical pneumatic valve.
The pneumatic symbols of operational components should be drawn on the outside of the
squares. They can be divided into two classes: mechanical and manual (Fig. 18 and 19).

(a) Vertical piston lever

(b) Pulley lever

(c) Unilateral pulley lever

Fig. 18 Mechanically operated pneumatic components

(a) Standard

(b) Lever

(c) Button

(d) Pull & push

Fig. 19 Manually operated pneumatic components


Pneumatic operation signal pressure lines should be drawn on one side of the squares,
while triangles are used to represent the direction of air flow (Fig. 20).

Fig. 20 Pneumatic operation signal pressure line

(ii) Basic principles


Fig. 21 shows some of the basic principles of drawing pneumatic circuit diagrams, the numbers
in the diagram correspond to the following points:

Fig. 21 Basic principles of drawing pneumatic circuit diagrams

1. When the manual switch is not operated, the spring will restore the valve to its original
2. From the position of the spring, one can deduce that the block is operating. The other
block will not operate until the switch is pushed.
3. Air pressure exists along this line because it is connected to the source of compressed
4. As this cylinder cavity and piston rod are under the influence of pressure, the piston rod
is in its restored position.
5. The rear cylinder cavity and this line are connected to the exhaust, where air is released.
(iii) The setting of circuit diagrams
When drawing a complete circuit diagram, one should place the pneumatic components on
different levels and positions, so the relations between the components can be expressed clearly.
This is called the setting of circuit diagrams. A circuit diagram is usually divided into three
levels: power level, logic level and signal input level (Fig. 22).


Fig. 22 Power level, logic level and signal input level


The basic rules of circuit diagram setting are as follows:



In a pneumatic circuit, the flow of energy is

from the bottom to the top. Therefore, the air
supply unit should be put at the bottom left

The work cycle should be drawn from left to

right. The first operating cylinder should be
placed at the upper left corner.




Power control valves should be drawn directly

under the cylinder controlled by them,
forming a power unit.

Control cylinders and operational valves

(signal components) driven by power control
valves should be placed at the lower levels of
the diagram.



Assistance valves, such as those with logic

functions (for example, memory, AND,
OR, NOT, delay, etc), can be put between
the pneumatic components and the power
control valves.

Use the line which represents the connecting

pipe to connect all the air supply unit and the
pneumatic components to complete the
pneumatic circuit. Check carefully the
circuit and the logic of the operation before
use to avoid any accident.

5 Different kinds of basic circuits

A basic circuit is a pneumatic circuit designed to perform basic tasks, such as flow amplification,
signal inversion, memory, delay, single acting cylinder control, double acting cylinder control,

(a) Flow amplification

Cylinders with a large capacity require a larger flow of air, which can be hazardous to users. It is
unsafe to manually operate pneumatic directional control valves with large flow capacity.
Instead we should first operate manually a small control valve and use it to operate the
pneumatic control system with large flow capacity. This is called flow amplification, which can
greatly ensure the safety of the operators. During operation, valves with large flow capacity
should be placed near the cylinder, while valves with smaller flow capacity should be placed on
control boards some distances away. Fig. 23 shows a basic flow amplification circuit. Notice
how different components are placed on different levels.

Fig. 23 Flow amplification system


(b) Signal inversion

The pneumatic diagram in Fig. 24 shows how directional control valves can be switched. When
operating control valve , control valve will stop producing pressure output. When control
valve ceases operation and is restored to its original position, control valve will resume its
output. Therefore, at any given time, the pressure output of control valve is the exact opposite
of that of control valve .

Fig. 24 Signal inversion system

(c) Memory Function
Memory is a common basic function. It can keep a component at a certain state
permanently until there is a change of signals. Fig. 25 shows a memory function circuit. When
control valve is operated momentarily (that is, pressed for a short time), the output signal of
the 5/2 directional control valve will be set to ON. The signal will stay that way until control
valve is operated momentarily and generates another signal to replace it, causing it to stay
permanently at OFF.


Fig. 25 Memory function circuit

(d) Delay function

A pneumatic delay circuit can delay the operating time of the next control valve. Its principle of
operation involves the use of an orifice to slow down the flow of air and control the time of
pneumatic operation. Delay functions can be divided into two classes: ON-signal delay and
OFF-signal delay.

(i) ON-signal delay

Fig. 26 shows the circuit diagram of an ON-signal delay circuit, which delays the output of the
next control valve. When control valve is operated, the one way flow control valve will slow
down the flow of air, thus delaying the signal output of the outlet of control valve (A),
resulting in a persistent ON-signal. The time when control valve will be restored to its
original position is not affected.


Fig. 26 Circuit diagram of an ON-signal delay circuit

(ii) OFF-signal Delay
Fig. 27 shows the circuit diagram of an OFF-signal delay circuit, which delays the output of the
next control valve. This circuit is similar to an ON-signal delay circuit. The only difference is
that the one way flow control valve is connected in the opposite direction. Therefore, when
control valve is operated, the outlet of control valve (A) will continue to output signals.
However, when control valve is restored to its original position, the release of air is slowed
down by the one way flow control valve, resulting in a persistent OFF-signal.

Fig. 27 Circuit diagram of an OFF-signal delay circuit

(e) Single acting cylinder control
Single acting cylinders can be controlled manually. However, they can also be controlled by two
or more valves. This is called logic control. Examples of logic control include OR function,
AND function, NOT function, etc.

(i) Direct control and speed control


If a single acting cylinder is connected to a manual 3/2 directional control valve, when the
control valve is operated, it will cause the cylinder to work (Fig. 28). Therefore, the circuit
allows the cylinder to be controlled manually.

Fig. 28 Direct control of a single acting cylinder

The only way to change the extension speed of the piston of a single acting cylinder is to restrict
the flow of air at the inlet and use the spring to determine the speed of retraction. Therefore, a
one way flow control valve is placed in the circuit to control the speed.
(ii) OR Function
The single acting cylinder in Fig. 29 can be operated by two different circuits. Examples include
manual operation and relying on automatic circuit signals, that is, when either control valve or
control valve is operated, the cylinder will work. Therefore, the circuit in Fig. 29 possesses
the OR function. However, if the output of two 3/2 directional control valves are connected
through the port of a triode, the air current from control valve will be released through the
exhaust of control valve , and so the cylinder will not work. This problem can be solved by
connecting a shuttle valve to the port of the triode.


Fig. 29 Circuit diagram of an OR function circuit

(iii) AND Function

Another name for an AND function is interlock control. This means control is possible only
when two conditions are satisfied. A classic example is a pneumatic system that works only
when its safety door is closed and its manual control valve is operated. The flow passage will
open only when both control valves are operated. Fig. 30 shows the circuit diagram of an AND
function circuit. The cylinder will work only when both valve and are operated.


Fig. 30 Circuit diagram of an AND function circuit

(iv) NOT Function
Another name for a NOT function is inverse control. In order to hold or lock an operating
conveyor or a similar machine, the cylinder must be locked until a signal for cancelling the lock
is received. Therefore, the signal for cancelling the lock should be operated by a normally open
type control valve. However, to cancel the lock, the same signal must also cancel the locks on
other devices, like the indication signal in Fig. 31. Fig. 31 shows how the normally closed
type control valve can be used to cut off the normally open type control valve and achieve
the goal of changing the signal.


Fig. 31 Circuit diagram for a NOT function circuit

(f) Double acting cylinder

(i) Direct control
The only difference between a single acting cylinder and a double acting cylinder is that a double
acting cylinder uses a 5/2 directional control valve instead of a 3/2 directional control valve (Fig.
32). Usually, when a double acting cylinder is not operated, outlet B and inlet P will be
connected. In this circuit, whenever the operation button is pushed manually, the double acting
cylinder will move back and forth once.

1. compressed air to store the energy instead of batteries. Their potential advantages over
other vehicles include:
2. Reducing pollution from one source, as opposed to the millions of vehicles on the road.
3. Transportation of the fuel would not be required due to drawing power off the
electrical grid. This presents significant cost benefits. Pollution created during fuel
transportation would be eliminated.
4. Compressed air technology reduces the cost of vehicle production.
5. There is no need to build a cooling system, fuel tank, Ignition Systems or silencers.
6. The mechanical design of the engine is simple and robust.

7. Low manufacture and maintenance costs as well as easy maintenance.

8. Compressed-air tanks can be disposed of or recycled with less pollution than batteries.
9. The tank may be able to be refilled more often and in less time than batteries can be
recharged, with re-fueling rates comparable to liquid fuels.
10. Lighter vehicles would mean less abuse on roads resulting in longer lasting roads.
11. The price of fueling air powered vehicles will be significantly cheaper than current
12. Refueling can be done at home using an air compressor

1. Like the modern car and most household appliances, the principal disadvantage is the
indirect use of energy.
2. The temperature difference between the incoming air and the working gas is smaller.
In heating the stored air, the device gets very cold and may ice up in cool, moist climates.
3. Refueling the compressed air container using a home or low-end conventional air
compressor may take as long time..
4. Tanks get very hot when filled rapidly. It very dangers it some time bloused.
5. Only limited storage capacity of the tanks. So we not take drive on long time.

1. Two wheeler Application
2. Four wheeler Applications
On the whole, the technology is just about modifying the engine of any regular IC engine vehicle
into an Air Powered Engine. The Air Powered Engine technology is cheaper in cost and

maintenance, can be easily adapted by the masses and it doesnt cause any kind of harm to the
environment. Instead, its widespread use will help mankind in controlling the serious problem of
global warming. It surely is the Futuristic Mode of Transport

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_car (accesed June 2008).
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(accessed January 2008).

[6] Bonser, K., HowStuffWorks, How Air-Powered Cars Will

Work, http://auto.howstuffworks.com/air-car.htm (accessed
June, 2008).
[7] Haliburton, M.-S. Pure Energy Systems News, Engineairs
UltraEfficient Rotary Compressed-Air Motor,
http://pesn.com/2006/05/11/9500269_Engineair_CompressedAir_Motor/ (accessed June, 2008).
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