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internal combustion engines

The Secret Life of the Internal Combustion Engine
Image: iStockphoto.com/nikonaft

The Secret Life of the Internal Combustion Engine

A fancy car purrs to life. It's hard to believe that inside the engine, violent explosions are going off thousands of times a minute.

Turning heat into motion, internal combustion engines have come a long way in the last 150 years. In different forms, they now power not only cars, but jets and rockets. True, they pollute. But, as you’ll see here, they may still have a long way to go.

Exploratorium/Tim Hunkin
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Otto’s Awesome Auto Engine

Otto’s Awesome Auto Engine

Meet Nikolaus Otto, one of the inventors who developed the engine that converts the chemical energy in gasoline into the mechanical energy that drives our cars. More...

Profile
Hidden Genius
How Gas Turbine Engines Work

How Gas Turbine Engines Work

Internal combustion drives pistons in a car, a motorcycle, or a lawnmower. But it drives turbines in jets, some helicopters, even some tanks. More...

Article
HowStuffWorks
The Secret Life of the Internal Combustion Engine: Cartoon Version

The Secret Life of the Internal Combustion Engine: Cartoon Version

These cartoons home in on fascinating details about internal combustion engines and the fuels that run them. More...

Images
Tim Hunkin
Deutz Engine 2

Deutz Engine 2

Imagine being able to look inside the cylinders of a working internal combustion engine. With this animation, you can. More...

Video
Mechengin
How Rocket Engines Work

How Rocket Engines Work

Sometimes rocket science is pretty simple, and sometimes it's, well, rocket science. It depends on the kind of rocket you're talking about. You'll find several kinds talked about here. More...

Article
HowStuffWorks
Combustion

Combustion

Three things are required for combustion to take place: fuel, oxygen, and heat. Most engines in cars, planes, and rockets depend on this chemical reaction. More...

Article
NASA
Engines

Engines

Most engines are "heat engines" that convert heat energy into motion. Get the basics on internal combustion engines and other heat engines here. More...

Article
FactMonster.com
Four-Stroke Internal Combustion Engine

Four-Stroke Internal Combustion Engine

The internal combustion engine made the age-old dream of flying a reality. Here's the engine that got the Wright brothers off the ground. More...

Article
NASA
How Car Engines Work

How Car Engines Work

Dive deep into the modern car engine here. You'll see how it works, how it breaks, and how it could be improved. More...

Article
HowStuffWorks
The Internal Combustion Engine Is Not Dead

The Internal Combustion Engine Is Not Dead

Will internal combustion engines soon be overtaken by newer technologies? Maybe not. Auto makers are finding ways to make the engines cleaner and more efficient than ever. More...

Article
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