In the 16th century, inventors created a form of internal combustion engine using gunpowder as the fuel to power the movement of the pistons. Actually, it wasn’t the gunpowder that moved them. The way this early internal combustion engine worked was you’d stuff a piston all the way to the top of a cylinder and then ignite gunpowder beneath the piston. A vacuum would form after the explosion and suck the piston down the cylinder. Because this engine relied on the changes in air pressure to move the piston, they called it the atmospheric engine. It wasn’t very efficient. By the 17th century, steam engines were showing a lot of promise, so the internal combustion engine was abandoned.
So without further ado, we’ll begin our first class of Gearhead 101 by explaining the ins and outs of the heart of a car: the internal combustion engine. An internal combustion engine is called an “internal combustion engine” because fuel and air combust inside the engine to create the energy to move the pistons, which in turn move the car "we’ll show you how that happens in detail below".
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