Since sixty-five years, the engine that produces internal combustion, or spark-ignition has reigned supreme. Because of its dominance as an automotive engine, technologists, politicians and environmentalists are now attempting to take it down. Regulating and decreasing resources are currently changing the fundamental rules that underpinned this engine’s creation. Can the internal combustion engines withstand these conditions in anything similar to their current form?
This book, which examines technological aspects of this issue, is for anyone who needs a detailed overview of the operating principles of the internal combustion engine, its performance characteristics and any possible alternatives. It is not intended to be an exhaustive review of automobile environmental effects, as the subtitle suggests. The book isn’t for the casual reader looking to find out which engine is going home. The book provides an in-depth analysis of the pros and cons of each of the types of engine being developed.
The first part describes briefly the role that the automobile plays in our transportation system. It also explains the current emission characteristics of automobile engines as well as the air pollution problems. The second part of the book covers the technology of current and future automotive power sources. These power plants must be able to meet the requirements of the vehicle, as well as its intended use. Additionally, basic thermodynamics for energy conversion is reviewed. This section examines the performance characteristics of various spark ignition engines. Part 2 concludes with a comparison comparing the costs and performance of these engines. According to the authors, the current engine has low initial cost, moderate fuel consumption, and very high maintenance costs.
The book’s final section focuses on the potential socio-economic impact of an alternate automotive engine technology. The impact of this change will be the key to deciding whether the current internal-combustion engine will continue to exist. This book can provide a technical assessment of options, which is a good starting point to examine this wider policy issue. John B. Heywood Engineering Massachusetts Institute of Technology