Inside Engines

You're totally revved-up by all sorts of engines! Bill Oxford

Here at HowStuffWorks we have hundreds of articles on a wide variety of topics; each article is grouped together in one of ten super-categories or, as we like to call them -- channels. You can find out all about computers and related technology on the ComputerStuff channel. For information about everything from installing hardwood flooring to learning how your refrigerator works, you can check out the HomeStuff channel. For all of you that find anything from rip currents to radar fascinating, you can find it on the ScienceStuff channel. And, so on ...

Out of all these channels and articles, though, there are a some things that really resonate with our readers. It turns out you're totally revved-up by all sorts of engines! This "Inside Engines" page takes you straight to the power.

How Car Engines Work
It's the reason you can put the pedal to the metal and go from zero to 60 in about 8 seconds. The car engine is a piece of engineering genius and one of the most amazing machines we use on a daily basis. Learn how the four-stroke internal combustion engine works.
How Diesel Engines Work
Ever wonder what the difference is between a gasoline engine and a diesel engine? Diesels are more efficient and cheaper to run than gasoline engines. Instead of using carburetion or port fuel injection, diesel engines use direct fuel injection. Find out what else makes diesel engines different!
How Diesel Two-Stroke Engines Work
A two-stroke engine has the potential to produce twice as much power as a four-stroke engine of the same size. And, diesel, rather than gasoline, is a much better match with the two-stroke cycle. So, take diesel-engine technology, throw in a two-stroke cycle and you've got the basis for the huge engines found in trains and big ships. Learn about the diesel two-stroke engine!
How HEMI Engines Work
The HEMI engine has an awesome design and great performance, and it's pretty unique in operation. With the revitalization of the HEMI in the 2003 Dodge trucks, industry and consumer attention is once again on this interesting configuration. Check out how the HEMI works and see what makes it different from the typical engine design.
How Rotary Engines Work
A rotary engine is an internal combustion engine, but it's not like the one in most cars. Also called a Wankel engine, this type of engine performs intake, compression, combustion and exhaust in a different part of the housing. Learn about the unique rotary setup and how it compares performance-wise to a piston engine.
How Gas Turbine Engines Work
Ever wonder what's happening inside that huge jet engine as you're cruising along at 30,000 feet? Commercial jets aren't the only machines that use gas turbine engines; they're used in all kinds of unexpected places. For example, many of the helicopters you see, a lot of smaller power plants and even the M-1 Tank use gas turbines. Find out how gas turbine engines work.
How Radial Engines Work
Radial engines reached their zenith during WWII. But today they are not that common. One place where you can still see the radial engine's influence is in the two-cylinder engine of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. This remarkable engine can be thought of, in a way, as two pistons from a radial engine. Find out about radial engines.
How Quasiturbine Engines Work
The quasiturbine engine takes the Wankel concept and improves on it: Instead of three combustion chambers, it has four, and the setup of a quasiturbine allows for continual combustion. That means greater efficiency than any other engine in its class. Learn about the quasiturbine and why it might be the most promising internal combustion engine yet.

How Steam Engines Work
Steam engines were the first engine type to see widespread use. They powered all early locomotives, steam boats and factories. It can be said that they powered the Industrial Revolution. Learn how the steam engine produces power.
How Two-Stroke Engines Work
What do leaf blowers, chain saws, dirt bikes, mopeds and jet skis all have in common? Two-stroke engines, of course! A car engine uses a four-stroke cycle -- how can two strokes accomplish the same tasks? Learn all about the two-stroke engine and how it compares to a four-stroke.
How Rocket Engines Work
One of the most amazing endeavors man has ever undertaken is the exploration of space. The hardest part of space exploration is getting a spaceship off the ground. Explore the basics of propulsion and learn about both solid-fuel and liquid-fuel rocket engines.
How Stirling Engines Work
Right now, stirling engines are used only in some very specialized applications, like in submarines or auxiliary power generators for yachts, where quiet operation is important. But it may have some new, high-tech uses; a few very high-power inventors are working on it. Learn about this unusual heat engine!
How NASCAR Engines Work
The original NASCAR races were run on dirt tracks in regular street cars. Today, almost every piece of a NASCAR race car is handmade. Get a behind-the-scenes look (with lots of photos and videos!) at how these amazing machines come together.
How Champ Car Engines Work
Champ Cars have carbon fiber bodies, 900-horsepower engines and top speeds of over 230 mph. With the help of the Motorola PacWest Racing Team and CART, go behind the scenes to learn about the car, its engine and the team and driver.