Major types of Engines

Straight In-line

This is the type of engine that you find in your quotidian car. Nothing fancy, just all pistons arranged parallel along the vertical direction.

V in-line

Now, this is the sort of the engine that you find on sports cars like the Ferrari. When you hear sports enthusiasts go ‘ Whoa, that’s a V-12! ‘ - it just means that the engine has a V-type arrangement with 12 cylinders.

V +  Inline = V-inline

Commonly referred to as the VR engine.

The name VR6 comes from a combination of V engine (German: V-Motor), and the German word “Reihenmotor” (meaning “inline engine” or “straight engine”)

Volkswagen’s VR6 engines, and the later VR5 variants, are a family of internal combustion engines, characterized by a narrow-angle (10.5° or 15°) V engine configuration.

                    a: straight engine, b: V engine, c: VR engine

W engine

A W engine is a type of reciprocating engine ( again created by Volkswagen) arranged with its cylinders in a configuration in which the cylinder banks resemble the letter W, in the same way those of a V engine resemble the letter V.

Bugatti Veyron’s W16 engine

A W16 engine is used on the Bugatti Veyron. That’s 16 cylinders!

Flat Engine

Flat engines offer several advantages for motorcycles, namely: a low centre of gravity, smoothness, suitability for shaft drive, and (if air-cooled) excellent cooling of the cylinders. You can find them on aircrafts as well

Radial Engine (aka the dancing starfish)

They were used mostly in small aircraft for the propeller

The big advantage of radials was their large frontal area, which meant they could be air cooled, meaning less maintenance, failures, and of course a lower cost of initial purchase and maintenance.

Wankel Engine

This engine has only 3 moving parts and can make a lot of power.However, they are pretty inefficient, the last car to use this was a Mazda RX-8.

Axial Engine

The axial engine is a very interesting design. But they are not widely used because they are just hard to make and running these things at high RPM’s  is a challenge.

Duke engines are equipped with this type.

Jet engine

Commonly jet engines refer to the engines that are found on, well Jets!

Suck,squeeze,bang and blow

Air is sucked in through the front and  squeezed. A controlled explosion follows and the exhaust is blown out through the back

But, Jet engines also include the engines that are found on rockets, hybrids and water-jets. And their mode of operation is different than the one mentioned above.

Pretty cool eh?

Have a great day!

PC: Howstuffworks, Duke, MichaelFrey,

** There is also the Stirling Engine. It’s amazing and a topic for an another post. But if you are interested do check out more about it here.

EDIT :  Had forgotten about the VR and the W-engines. My bad! Thanks for pointing it out.:D.

EDIT2: The suck squeeze bang and blow illustration was incorrect. Ergo, changed that.


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