See-through Internal Combustion Engine

Crazy See-Through Engine Shows What Internal Combustion Looks Like

This crazy see-through engine shows you what internal combustion actually looks like

It’s not really our fault that we don’t know how awesome these underrated marvels of technology actually are – they’re tucked away under the hood, and all the incredible chemistry going on is concealed by that big metal casing. But what if you had a piston engine with a clear cylinder head that lets you see everything?

YouTuber Matt Mikka has done just that at his Warped Perception channel to show you the combustion process of a 3 HP flathead Briggs and Stratton Internal Combustion engine in Ultra Slow Motion.

He takes it from a ‘rich’ state (too much fuel and not enough air) to a ‘lean’ state (too much air and not enough fuel), and burns gasoline, rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol), and the hydrocarbon compound acetylene for comparison.

In case you’re not familiar with the internal parts of a piston engine, in the video above, you’ll see the piston moving up and down on the left, and the intake and exhaust valves on the right. 

There’s a spark plug hanging above these two valves, which ignites the whole thing, and when you see those gas flames slowed down 150 times… well, let’s just say it’s a thing of beauty.

Okay, so the gasoline is beautiful, the rubbing alcohol is kind of stressful with all that liquid squishing around, and then the acetylene? That stuff is downright scary.

The reason those last two fuels flood and mess up the engine is because they don’t strike the same kind of fuel-air balance that gasoline does.

Here’s how a four-stroke engine works:

“This is a four-stroke engine, which means the full cycle has four steps. Step one is the intake valve opening and letting air and fuel into the chamber while the piston moves down. On step two, the piston moves up, compressing the fuel.

On step three, the fuel is ignited, and the force of that ignition pushes the piston down again. And finally, step four sees the piston move upward again, forcing the exhaust out of the newly opened exhaust valve.”

Now that we’ve seen that in action, we want every machine in our lives to be see-through.

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Written by Roadfly Charlie

Charlie is Roadfly’s founder and publisher, and was taught to drive by his father in a 1974 Porsche 914. That made poor Charlie a Porsche fanboy for life, and after driving a 911SC at 16, he bought and campaigned a variety of 944s at racetracks up and down the East Coast, earning awards and track records in his twenties. Charlie never really got over the car bug, and after a career in real estate development he founded the Internet media firm that became Roadfly. Charlie lives in McLean, VA with his wife and two daughters, and between the demands of family and business doesn’t have much time to play with cars anymore, excluding the machinery we review.

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