Fuel and propulsion technologies
Most cars in use today are propelled by an internal combustion engine, fueled by deflagration of gasoline or diesel. Both fuels are known to cause air pollution and are also blamed for contributing to climate change and global warming.4 Rapidly increasing oil prices, concerns about oil dependence, tightening environmental laws and restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions are propelling work on alternative power systems for cars. Efforts to improve or replace existing technologies include the development of hybrid vehicles, plug-in electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles. Vehicles using alternative fuels such as ethanol flexible-fuel vehicles and natural gas vehicles are also gaining popularity in some countries. Cars for racing or speed records have sometimes employed jet or rocket engines, but these are impractical for common use.
Oil consumption in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has been abundantly pushed by car growth; the 1985?2003 oil glut even fuelled the sales of low-economy vehicles in OECD countries. The BRIC countries are adding to this consumption; in December 2009 China was briefly the largest car market.35
Dugald Clerk developed
Dugald Clerk developed the first two cycle engine in 1879. It used a separate cylinder which functioned as a pump in order to transfer the fuel mixture to the cylinder.6
In 1899 John Day simplified Clerk's design into the type of 2 cycle engine that is very widely used today.13 Day cycle engines are crankcase scavenged and port timed. The crankcase and the part of the cylinder below the exhaust port is used as a pump. The operation of the Day cycle engine begins when the crankshaft is turned so that the piston moves from BDC upward (toward the head) creating a vacuum in the crankcase/cylinder area. The carburetor then feeds the fuel mixture into the crankcase through a reed valve or a rotary disk valve (driven by the engine). There are cast in ducts from the crankcase to the port in the cylinder to provide for intake and another from the exhausst port to the exhaust pipe. The height of the port in relationship to the length of the cylinder is called the "port timing."
On the first upstroke of the engine there would be no fuel inducted into the cylinder as the crankcase was empty. On the downstroke the piston now compresses the fuel mix, which has lubricated the piston in the cylinder and the bearings due to the fuel mix having oil added to it. As the piston moves downward is first uncovers the exhaust, but on the first stroke there is no burnt fuel to exhaust. As the piston moves downward further, it uncovers the intake port which has a duct that runs to the crankcase. Since the fuel mix in the crankcase is under pressure the mix moves through the duct and into the cylinder.
Because there is no obstruction in the cylinder of the fuel to move directly out of the exhaust port prior to the piston rising far enough to close the port, early engines used a high domed piston to slow down the flow of fuel. Later the fuel was "resonated" back into the cylinder using an expansion chamber design. When the piston rose close to TDC a spark ignites the fuel. As the piston is driven downward with power it first uncovers the exhaust port where the burned fuel is expelled under high pressure and then the intake port where the process has been completed and will keep repeating.
Later engines used a type of porting devised by the Deutz company to improve performance. It was called the Schnurle Reverse Flow system. DKW licensed this design for all their motorcycles. Their DKW RT 125 was one of the first motor vehicles to achieve over 100 mpg as a result.14
On its bottom, the sump contains an oil intake
On its bottom, the sump contains an oil intake covered by a mesh filter which is connected to an oil pump then to an oil filter outside the crankcase, from there it is diverted to the crankshaft main bearings and valve train. The crankcase contains at least one oil gallery (a conduit inside a crankcase wall) to which oil is introduced from the oil filter. The main bearings contain a groove through all or half its circumference; the oil enters to these grooves from channels connected to the oil gallery. The crankshaft has drillings which take oil from these grooves and deliver it to the big end bearings. All big end bearings are lubricated this way. A single main bearing may provide oil for 0, 1 or 2 big end bearings. A similar system may be used to lubricate the piston, its gudgeon pin and the small end of its connecting rod; in this system, the connecting rod big end has a groove around the crankshaft and a drilling connected to the groove which distributes oil from there to the bottom of the piston and from then to the cylinder.
Other systems are also used to lubricate the cylinder and piston. The connecting rod may have a nozzle to throw an oil jet to the cylinder and bottom of the piston. That nozzle is in movement relative to the cylinder it lubricates, but always pointed towards it or the corresponding piston.
Typically a forced lubrication systems have a lubricant flow higher than what is required to lubricate satisfactorily, in order to assist with cooling. Specifically, the lubricant system helps to move heat from the hot engine parts to the cooling liquid (in water-cooled engines) or fins (in air-cooled engines) which then transfer it to the environment. The lubricant must be designed to be chemically stable and maintain suitable viscosities within the temperature range it encounters in the engine.