Evolution of Combustion Engines
For over a century, car makers have come up with different ideas year by year, the combustion engine sits under every hood doing the same job with the same methodology. The air and fuel mixture which triggers the cylinders and power drives you into motion; one thing that did not stay the same was how the combustion engine is being designed, as engineers crafted it to achieve more speed, distance and efficiency, communizing the sort of power that only supercars possessed at a particular period. These major benchmarks in the evolution of the combustion engine have been put to record and as we appreciate the awesomeness of modern combustion engines, it’s important that we take a walk down memory lane to see how we got here.
Fuel injection (1955) – Before this, engines had to battle with the fastidious process of injecting gasoline into the combustion chamber. It was hardwork and all wear and tear, cleaning of the carburettors was required too often and temperature and weather affected them. The fuel injection came as a more convenient process; it was smoother and more efficient. This method was lifted from wartime airplanes and first used in an automobile in 1955.
Turbocharging (1962) – this engine advancement was like discovering a gold mine. It was first used in 12-cylinder World War II fighter planes to fly higher, farther and faster, doing the same on land and so a turbocharged car was built. After it was used in motorsports, it gradually made its way into ordinary cars.
Rotary Engine (1964) – the rotary engine was first used by Mazda cars. It is lighter, simpler and higher-revving than the average box of pistons and was repeatedly used in sports cars, sedans and some pickup trucks, till the final Rx-8 phased out in 2012. Recently, some engineers are trying to bring back its upgraded version.
Cylinder deactivation (1981) – by closing down the valves of two or more cylinders through an electronic process, the logic is that the less cylinder firing the better mileage and efficiency you achieve. However, this type of engine was gawky and undependable; therefore it went out of use for twenty years.
Compression ratios (2012) – the rationality here was that the smaller you can compress fuel and air the more power is achieved during its explosion. Manufacturers are scared of making the compression ratios too high in order to avoid engine knocking, but with better tactics and technical know-how, Mazda figured out the limitations and produced an engine with a compression ratio as high as 14:1, taking the combustion engine production to a whole new level.