Man's physical universe

xanabras

UNIT V

SECTION 5

THE INTERNAL-COMBUSTION ENGINE IS ONE OF THE

GREATEST DEVELOPMENTS OF MODERN CIVILIZATION '

Introduction.

The greatest thing civilization has had thus far is the internal combustion

engine. For the first time in the history of the world mankind has had a small,

mobile, inanimate power device. The greatest factor that has caused the

development of all our civilizing devices has been the use of inanimate pxjwer.

The internal combustion engine has absolutely changed our whole method of

living. The city has developed because of its wonderful system of electrical

distribution. Back of this is a great power unit. If the power unit stops, the

lights go out and the motors stop. But with the internal combustion engine

we carry with us the power-house. We move it wherever we please. — C. F.

Kettering.

The automobile is one of the commonest pieces of machinery in

everyday use ; more than thirty million are in daily use upon our roads.

It has become so necessary in our modern life that it has been called

the "fourth necessity," giving way only to food, clothing, and shelter.

The internal-combustion engine, exemplified by the ordinary automobile

engine, is more efficient than the combination of a steam engine

and boiler. In this case the boiler is not necessary, because the combustion

of the powdered coal, fuel oil, kerosene, gasoline, natural gas,

or other fuel takes place within the cylinder of the engine itself and

thus eliminates the heat losses of the boiler.

The internal-combustion engine is much lighter in weight than the

steam engine-boiler combination in comparison with the power developed.

Internal-combustion engines also possess the advantage of

compactness, ease, and quickness of starting and stopping, along with

ease of attachment to machines to be operated.

Since internal-combustion engines are used widely by nearly everybody

in the form of automobiles, tractors, airplanes, motor boats,

power and light plants, graders, motorcycles, pumps, and scores of

* Most of the material in this Section has been selected from the booklets, When the

Wheels Revolve and Diesel, the Modern Power, through the courtesy of the General Motors

Corporation.

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