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.
This type of system is used by a number of suppliers, most commonly in Europe, but hasn't yet come to the market in many areas of the world. Laboe says the amount of increase in fuel economy demonstrated is significant. This technology is coming to meet upcoming regulatory obligations, and Chrysler is interested in this approach because it benefits fuel economy using available energy, and, most importantly, can be incorporated into existing powertrain architectures.
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