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How does a car use petrol?

How does a car use petrol?
Alina Akhtar from Lancashire (age 15-24)

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2 Responses

  1. The basic source of power is that a tiny amount of petrol – ( a few cubic millimetres) is mixed with air and ignited. This explosive combustion pushes a piston in a cylinder and causes a shaft to rotate.

    This process happens about 10 times every second in each of four cylinders and provides power to drive the car.

  2. Hi Alina.

    A typical petrol car will have 4 cylinders in its engine. A cylinder in a car is like a small chamber in the engine (this is so hard to describe without pictures). It is cylindrical in shape and has a type of sealed plunger as a lid. This sealed plunger can move up and down the cylinder and acts as a sealed lid. This means the cylinder can be sealed with a small volume and also still sealed as a larger volume.

    The first cylinder plunger is placed so that the chamber has a small volume. Then a small amount of petrol is placed in the first cylinder. A spark from the spark plug ignites the petrol and the ensuing small explosion moves that cylinder lid up. Then the same thing happens in the next cylinder and so on.

    This then happens numerous times very quickly, and all these small movements add up to the engine ‘ticking over’.

    This is an internal combustion engine, as internally, petrol is combusted to produce the movement energy required.

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