The internal-combustion engine was synonymous with the automobile throughout the 20th century. But its future is now at risk, since it faces competition from both the hybrid gasoline- and diesel-electric engine (that is, the hybrid) and from the fuel cell. The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine. This force is applied typically to pistons, turbine blades, or a nozzle. This force moves the component over a distance, transforming chemical energy into useful mechanical energy. The internal combustion engine (ICE) is quite different from external combustion engines, such as steam or Stirling engines, in which the energy is delivered to a working fluid not consisting of, mixed with, or contaminated by combustion products. Working fluids can be air, hot water, pressurized water or even liquid sodium, heated in some kind of boiler. This handbook will take the readers back to the past 20 years where automakers had significantly improved its power, its fuel efficiency, and its emissions, with more changes to come. Not that this book will always outperform the alternatives; fuel cells—rapidly gaining market acceptance and slated to be in mass production for some premium markets by 2010—may become the leading technology of the late 21st century.
EDITORA: Auris Reference
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