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Sustainable Mobility

Technical and environmental challenges for the automotive sector

Week 3 Session 2 Engine Parts


Maria Thirouard

IFPEN / IFP School 2014

In the last section we saw the engine thermodynamic cycle and the different energy losses. You
now know that efficiency equals CO2 emissions and you have a better understanding of the
differences between diesel and gasoline engines.
In this lesson well see the mechanical parts of an engine. To do so, we will follow the path of the
gases from the intake till the exhaust.
In naturally aspirated engines, fresh air is drawn into the cylinder directly from the surrounding
environment. Nowadays, most of the engines are equipped with a turbocharger since this means
the power of the engine can be considerably increased. The turbocharger increases the air pressure
so a higher mass of air can be inducted by the engine for each engine cycle. In this way a higher
quantity of fuel can be burned. There are two parts in the turbocharger: first the compressor that
increases the air pressure, and on the other side, the turbine that is used to drive the compressor
by using the residual energy from the exhaust gases. The compressor also increases the
temperature of the air so usually an intercooler is placed downstream of the compressor, before
the point where the air enters the engine. The purpose of this is to reduce the air temperature and
increase its density.
The air then goes into the intake manifold which distributes the air into each cylinder of the engine
through the cylinder head.
Here we need to separate diesel engines form gasoline engines:
In diesel engines, the intake manifold is equipped with swirl flaps which are used to regulate the
inflow of air in order to achieve optimal combustion. The swirl movement is also given by the shape
of the intake pipes inside the cylinder head. This is also called internal aerodynamics.
A modern common rail system sends up to 2000 bar of injection pressure to the fuel injectors
which distribute the fuel optimally in the combustion chamber. Due to the extremely quick reaction
time of the injector needles, up to 4 or 5 separate injection processes can be done per cycle. In
addition to the main injection process, pre- and post-injection processes are also possible. Preinjection moderates the acoustic hardness, what we called rattling of the combustion process. Postinjections are used specifically to raise the temperature of the exhaust gas and therefore for
regeneration of the standard Diesel Particulate Filter. These factors combine to give exact and more
efficient combustion.
In gasoline engines, intake pipes are shaped to create an in-cylinder air motion which favors air
turbulence intensity and thus combustion speed. The injector is either placed in the intake manifold
or in the cylinder head, in what we call direct injection gasoline engines. Fuel injection is
electronically controlled for accurate injection quantity and phasing in order to obtain a correct
fuel/air mixture. When the piston approaches TDC, the spark plug supplies the amount of energy
necessary to initiate the combustion of the fuel/air mixture. The spark timing is accurately adjusted
to optimize engine performances.
All 4 stroke engines use poppet valves to control the gas exchange. Most of the time, there are four
valves per cylinder, two for the intake air and two for the exhaust gas. In a 4-cylinder engine this is
called a 16-valve cylinder head. The valves are generally actuated by means of cams and return
springs. The cams are placed in the camshaft. The camshaft is driven by the crankshaft via the
timing belt or chain.
Once combustion is completed, the exhaust gases go through the exhaust manifold. In diesel
engines, a part of these gases might be reintroduced into the cylinder and mixed with the fresh air.
This is called the exhaust gas recirculation or EGR system. EGR is commonly used in diesel engines
to reduce NOx emissions. The gases then go through the after-treatment devices. In gasoline

W3 S2 Engine Parts p. 1
IFPEN / IFP School 2014

engines, a three-way catalyst is sufficient to control HC, CO and NOx emissions. In diesel engines
there are multiple after-treatment devices: a catalytic converter is used to reduce HC and CO
emissions. In some cases there is also a NOx trap or an SCR system to reduce NOx emissions. The
Particulate Filter traps the particle matter up to a certain load. When the particulate filter is
sufficiently loaded post-injections are activated to increase the exhaust gas temperature and
regenerate the particulate filter.
You can see here one of the reasons why diesel engines are more expensive compared to gasoline:
the after-treatment devices are multiple and more complex. Of course, we will look at each aftertreatment device in detail in a future lesson.
After all these explanations you might be wondering how the engine makes the car move. Weve
seen that with the crankshaft a rotational movement is produced. If we use a very simple picture,
you can imagine that the crankshaft is solidly connected to the front wheels of the car. The wheels
then turn at the same speed as the engine and this makes the car move forward.
Well in reality, the wheel shaft or the drive shaft is connected to the crankshaft via the transmission
or the gear box. The gear box uses a clutch and a movable gear stick operated by the driver in the
case of manual transmissions. Each gear in the gear box is connected to the driveshaft of the
wheels. To make the car move, we need to connect the clutch from the engine to the driveshaft.
The clutch is connected when the driver steps on the clutch pedal. Each gear is different in size and
consequently, when selected and connected to the driveshaft, it rotates at a different speed, which
increases or decreases the speed of the output shaft that is connected to the wheels. This allows
the driver to select the correct gear to get more power or speed to reach the required performance
for any given driving condition.
Weve seen now the main components of the engine and how the movement is converted to make
the car move.

W3 S2 Engine Parts p. 2
IFPEN / IFP School 2014