petrol engines

Synonyms

gasoline engines

Definition

A petrol engine (known as a gasoline engine in North America) is an internal combustion engine with spark-ignition, designed to run on petrol and similar volatile fuels. It differs from a diesel engine in the method of mixing the fuel and air, and in the fact that it uses spark plugs to initiate the combustion process. In a diesel engine, only air is compressed (and therefore heated), and the fuel is injected into the now very hot air at the end of the compression stroke, and self-ignites. In a petrol engine, the fuel and air are usually pre-mixed before compression (although some modern petrol engines now use cylinder-direct petrol injection). The pre-mixing was formerly done in a carburetor, but now (except in the smallest engines) it is done by electronically controlled fuel injection. Petrol engines run at higher speeds than Diesels partially due to their lighter pistons, conrods & crankshaft (as a result of lower compression ratios) & due to petrol burning faster than diesel. However the lower compression ratios of a petrol engine gives a lower efficiency than a diesel engine.