The main problem in understanding the construction of the reciprocating piston engine is being able to identify and name the various parts making up the power unit. To this end, the following briefly describes the major car engine components and the names given to them :
Cylinder block This is a cast structure with cylindrical holes bored to guide and support the pistons and to harness the working gases. It also provides a jacket to contain a liquid coolant.
Cylinder head This casting encloses the combustion end of the cylinder block and houses both the inlet and exhaust poppet-valves and their ports to admit air– fuel mixture and to exhaust the combustion products.
Crankcase This is a cast rigid structure which supports and houses the crankshaft and bearings. It is usually cast as a mono-construction with the cylinder block in car engine components.
Sump This is a pressed-steel or cast-aluminiumalloy container which encloses the bottom of the crankcase and provides a reservoir for the engine’s lubricant.
Piston This is a pressure-tight cylindrical plunger which is subjected to the expanding gas pressure. Its function is to convert the gas pressure from combustion into a concentrated driving thrust along the connectingrod.
It must therefore also act as a guide for the smallend of the connecting-rod.
Piston rings These are circular rings which seal the gaps made between the piston and the cylinder, their object being to prevent gas escaping and to control the amount of lubricant which is allowed to reach the top of
Gudgeon-pin This pin transfers the thrust from the piston to the connecting-rod small-end while permitting the rod to rock to and fro as the crankshaft rotates.
Connecting-rod This acts as both a strut and a tie link-rod. It transmits the linear pressure impulses acting on the piston to the crankshaft big-end journal, where they are converted into turning-effort
Crankshaft A simple crankshaft consists of a circular- sectioned shaft which is bent or cranked to form two perpendicular crank-arms and an offset big-end journal. The unbent part of the shaft provides the main journals. The crankshaft is indirectly linked by the connecting-rod to the piston – this enables the straightline motion of the piston to be transformed into a rotary
motion at the crankshaft about the main-journal axis.
Crankshaft journals These are highly finished cylindrical pins machined parallel on both the centre axes and the offset axes of the crankshaft. When assembled, these journals rotate in plain bush-type bearings mounted in the crankcase (the main journals) and in one end of the connecting-rod
Small-end This refers to the hinged jointmade by the gudgeon-pin between the piston and the connecting-rod so that the connecting-rod is free to oscillate relative to the cylinder axis as it moves to and fro in the cylinder.
Big-end This refers to the joint between the connecting-rod and the crankshaft big-end journal which provides the relative angular movement between the two components as the engine rotates.
Main-ends This refers to the rubbing pairs formed between the crankshaft main journals and their respective plain bearings mounted in the crankcase.