Why A Gasoline Engine Goes


| August/September 1996

  • Flywheel being turned
    Fig. 1
  • Piston drawn to lowest point
    Fig. 2
  • Explosion
    Fig.3
  • Flywheel, still turning'
    Fig. 4

  • Flywheel being turned
  • Piston drawn to lowest point
  • Explosion
  • Flywheel, still turning'

11801 52nd Dr. N.E, Marysville, Washington 98271-6225 sent us this excerpt from the 1915 edition of The Book of Wonders.

As you know, gasoline is a very inflammable fluid, and will explode if placed too close to fire.

This explosive quality is the basic principle of the gasoline engine. By admitting a small quantity of gasoline vapor into an enclosed cylinder, and exploding it by means of an electric spark, repeating this operation continuously, the engine is given a regular rotary motion.

Look at Fig. 1. Starting from the gasoline tank, the fluid is fed into the carburetor, which is a sort of atomizer. Here the gasoline is mixed with air, and broken up into a very fine spray, in which condition it will explode readily.



The engine will not start itself. Its flywheel must first be turned by hand, or by some other outside force, until the first explosion takes place. After this its action is automatic.

As shown in Fig. 1, the flywheel is being turned, and is drawing the piston down the cylinder, which in turn sucks gasoline vapor, (shown by little arrows) through the 'intake valve.' This 'intake valve,' and the 'exhaust valve' on the opposite side of the cylinder, are opened and closed at the proper time through the action of the gears shown in the illustration.



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