Published on Jan 03, 2023
The Internal Combustion Engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel (generally, fossil fuel) occurs with an oxidizer (usually air) in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine the expansion of the high temperature and pressure gases, which are produced by the combustion, directly applies force to a movable component of the engine, such as the pistons or turbine blades and by moving it over a distance, generate useful mechanical energy.
The term internal combustion engine usually refers to an engine in which combustion is intermittent, such as the more familiar four-stroke and two-stroke piston engines, along with variants, such as the Wankel rotary engine. A second class of internal combustion engines use continuous combustion: gas turbines, jet engines and most rocket engines.
Invention of the two-stroke cycle is attributed to Scottish engineer Dugald Clerk who in 1881 patented his design, his engine having a separate charging cylinder. The crankcase-scavenged engine, employing the area below the piston as a charging pump, is generally credited to Englishman Joseph Day (and Frederick Cock for the piston-controlled inlet port).
A two-stroke engine is an internal combustion engine that completes the thermodynamic cycle in two movements of the piston compared to twice that number for a four-stroke engine. This increased efficiency is accomplished by using the beginning of the compression stroke and the end of the combustion stroke to perform simultaneously the intake and exhaust (or scavenging) functions. In this way two-stroke engines often provide strikingly high specific power. Gasoline (spark ignition) versions are particularly useful in lightweight (portable) applications such as chainsaws and the concept is also used in diesel compression ignition engines in large and non-weight sensitive applications such as ships and locomotives.
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. A less technical description of the four-stroke cycle is, "Suction, Compression, Ignition, Exhaust" 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).
Common rail direct fuel injection is a modern variant of direct fuel injection system for petrol and diesel engines. On diesel engines, it features a high-pressure (over 1,000 bar/15,000 psi) fuel rail feeding individual solenoid valves, as opposed to low-pressure fuel pump feeding unit injectors. Third-generation common rail diesels now feature piezoelectric injectors for increased precision, with fuel pressures up to 1,800 bar/26,000 psi.
The common rail system prototype was developed in the late 1960s by Robert Huber of Switzerland and the technology further developed by Dr. Marco Ganser at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, later of Ganser-Hydromag AG (est.1995) in Oberägeri.
The first successful usage in production vehicle began in Japan by the mid-1990s. Dr. Shohei Itoh and Masahiko Miyaki of the Denso Corporation, a Japanese automotive parts manufacturer, developed the common rail fuel system for heavy duty vehicles and turned it into practical use on their ECD-U2 common-rail system mounted on the Hino Rising Ranger truck and sold for general use in 1995. Denso claims the first commercial high pressure common rail system in 1995.
Modern common rail systems, whilst working on the same principle, are governed by an engine control unit (ECU) which opens each injector electronically rather than mechanically. This was extensively prototyped in the 1990s with collaboration between Magneti Marelli, Centro Ricerche Fiat and Elasis. After research and development by the Fiat Group, the design was acquired by the German company Robert Bosch GmbH for completion of development and refinement for mass-production. In hindsight the sale appeared to be a tactical error for Fiat as the new technology proved to be highly profitable.
The company had little choice but to sell, however, as it was in a poor financial state at the time and lacked the resources to complete development on its own. In 1997 they extended its use for passenger cars. The first passenger car that used the common rail system was the 1997 model Alfa Romeo 156 1.9 JTD, and later on that same year Mercedes-Benz C 220 CDI.
Common rail engines have been used in marine and locomotive applications for some time. The Cooper-Bessemer GN-8 (circa 1942) is an example of a hydraulically operated common rail diesel engine, also known as a modified common rail.
Solenoid or piezoelectric valves make possible fine electronic control over the fuel injection time and quantity, and the higher pressure that the common rail technology makes available provides better fuel atomisation. In order to lower engine noise the engine's electronic control unit can inject a small amount of diesel just before the main injection event ("pilot" injection), thus reducing its explosiveness and vibration, as well as optimising injection timing and quantity for variations in fuel quality, cold starting, and so on. Some advanced common rail fuel systems perform as many as five injections per stroke.
Common rail engines require no heating up time  and produce lower engine noise and emissions than older systems.
Diesel engines have historically used various forms of fuel injection. Two common types include the unit injection system and the distributor/inline pump systems (See diesel engine and unit injector for more information). While these older systems provided accurate fuel quantity and injection timing control they were limited by several factors:
* They were cam driven and injection pressure was proportional to engine speed. This typically meant that the highest injection pressure could only be achieved at the highest engine speed and the maximum achievable injection pressure decreased as engine speed decreased. This relationship is true with all pumps, even those used on common rail systems; with the unit or distributor systems, however, the injection pressure is tied to the instantaneous pressure of a single pumping event with no accumulator and thus the relationship is more prominent and troublesome.
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