We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Internal Combustion?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
All The Science is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All The Science, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Internal combustion is literally the driving force behind trains, planes, and automobiles. It is a method of energy generation in which combustion takes place in a controlled chamber or chambers inside an engine to generate mechanical energy. Internal combustion engines were developed in the 1800s, and they are widely regarded as a major mechanical innovation. Many people use or benefit from an internal combustion engine every day, whether they are taking a bus to work, using a gasoline generator to power a home, or driving to the beach.

There are a number of different ways to use the energy generated by internal combustion. In all cases, the technology involves the use of a fuel-air mixture to create controlled explosions. The explosions create a great deal of energy which pushes a piston, turning the force of the explosion into mechanical energy which can be converted into motion, such as the spinning of the wheels in a car or the movement of a turbine in a jet engine. The more pistons an engine has, the more energy it can generate.

Engines which utilize internal combustion for energy have a number of components, which can vary slightly, depending on the nature of the engine and its age. Most engines follow a two or four stroke cycle, meaning that the piston inside the cylinder moves through two or four positions in each cycle of the engine. Four stroke engines tend to be more common; cars, for example, use a four stroke method, while lawnmowers are commonly two stroke engines.

One of the problems with internal combustion is that it generates high temperature, high pressure exhaust fumes which must be vented away from the engine. These fumes commonly contain pollutants generated by the burning of the fuel in the cylinder. Many engines have filtration systems in place which are designed to trap pollutants, and the internal combustion design has been refined to increase efficiency and minimize the production of pollutants. Even with these measures, however, large amounts of pollution are generated annually by boats, planes, cars, trucks, buses, and trains.

Prior to the internal combustion engine, people used external combustion to generate mechanical energy. One of the classic examples of an external combustion engine is a steam engine such as that used historically to power trains and some types of factory equipment. While internal combustion is generally preferred today, external combustion engines can still be seen at work in various corners of the world, sometimes as novelties and sometimes as actual working engines.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a All The Science researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon129819 — On Nov 25, 2010

who made the internal combustion engine?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.