Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
n. 1 A piston or a rotary heat engine directly powered by the products of intermittent combustion of a fuel. 2 A heat engine in which intermittent or the continuous burning of a fuel takes place inside a combustion chamber; the resulting pressurized gas acts directly on the engine to do useful work, such as a piston engine, gas turbine, jet engine or rocket.[http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&ct=res&cd=1&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.britannica.com%2Feb%2Farticle-9106036%2Finternal-combustion-engine&ei=ZdJqSMCnDo_o0gXitpynDA&usg=AFQjCNE6h_t0H7XJLKnUjudcNQjmgMeUdg&sig2=srdZH3-tM_JIU9y7-Q0H6Q]
An internal combustion engine (ICE) is a heat engine where the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer (usually air) in a combustion chamber that is an integral part of the working fluid flow circuit. 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. The force is applied typically to pistons, turbine blades, rotor or a nozzle. This force moves the component over a distance, transforming chemical energy into useful mechanical energy.
The first commercially successful internal combustion engine was created by Étienne Lenoir around 1859 and the first modern internal combustion engine was created in 1876 by Nikolaus Otto (see Otto engine).
The term internal combustion engine usually refers to an engine in which combustion is intermittent, such as the more familiar four-stroke and two-stroke piston engines, along with variants, such as the six-stroke piston engine and the Wankel rotary engine. A second class of internal combustion engines use continuous combustion: gas turbines, jet engines and most rocket engines, each of which are internal combustion engines on the same principle as previously described. Firearms are also a form of internal combustion engine.
Internal combustion engines are 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 a boiler. ICEs are usually powered by energy-dense fuels such as gasoline or diesel, liquids derived from fossil fuels. While there are many stationary applications, most ICEs are used in mobile applications and are the dominant power supply for vehicles such as cars, aircraft, and boats.
Typically an ICE is fed with fossil fuels like natural gas or petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel fuel or fuel oil. There's a growing usage of renewable fuels like biodiesel for compression ignition engines and bioethanol or methanol for spark ignition engines. Hydrogen is sometimes used, and can be made from either fossil fuels or renewable energy.
Usage examples of "internal combustion engine".
However, the greater power-to-weight ratio of the internal combustion engine did maintain a certain degree of interest for ground applications, particularly in armored fighting vehicles.
He coupled his heat pump with the Fischer engine, and asserted that the result would be more powerful than an internal combustion engine of the same size, would never need gasoline (or any other fuel), would not need any oil changes, and would run for 400,000 miles before it wore out.
By the time the internal combustion engine came along, so much effort had gone into developing automotive steam engines that they remained dominant in all but aeronautical and armored fighting-vehicle applications.
It had happened so quickly it took her a moment to believe she was trapped under an internal combustion engine on the bottom of the ocean.
It was too dark to see what she was like, but the muffled pulsations of an internal combustion engine were distinctly audible.
If we should be interested in the specific question of human walking - how it is achieved, how it is acquired, and how it may be impaired temporarily by over consumption of alcohol or lastingly by brain damage - studying fairy tales about flying carpets or the principles of the internal combustion engine, or even the wave forms of snake tracks, will be of only limited assistance.
Half an hour later, and dazed by the flood of information and the first genuine enthusiasm the American priest had evinced in his presence, Mazarini was, if no wiser about the operation of the internal combustion engine, at least ignorant in more detail than before.