|Topics||Air-Fuel Mixture, Alternator, Battery, Combustion Chamber, Cylinders, Lighting, Radiator, Sensors, Springs, Thermostat|
The stoichiometric ratio defines the proper ratio of air to fuel necessary so that an engine burns all fuel with no excess air. For gasoline fuel, the stoichiometric ratio is about 14.7:1 or for every one gram of fuel, 14.7 grams of air are required. Too much air results in a lean air-fuel mixture that burns more slowly and hotter while too much fuel results in a rich mixture that burns quicker and cooler.
Once the engine is running, the alternator provides electrical current to recharge the battery and power the electrical system. The alternator is driven by the engine's crankshaft and produces alternating current (AC) which is then fed through a rectifier bridge to convert it to the direct current (DC) required by the electrical system. A voltage regulator controls the output of the alternator to maintain a consistent voltage (approx. 14.5 volts) in the electrical system regardless of load.
The lead-acid battery is the core of the electrical system, providing current to the ignition system to start the engine as well as delivering supplemental current when the alternator can't handle high electrical system loads and acting as an electrical reservoir for excessive current.
The combustion chamber is located in the cylinder head and contains the combustion of the air-fuel mixture. This mixture is delivered by an intake valve and the waste gases from combustion are removed from the combustion chamber by the exhaust valve.
Cylinders act as a guide for the pistons that translate the heat energy of combustion into the mechanical energy necessary to move a vehicle. Piston rings seal the piston to the cylinder to contain combustion gases and also regulate the oil distribution between the piston and cylinder wall. A cylinder head closes in the top of the cylinder forming the combustion chamber which is sealed by a head gasket (head). The head provides space for air and fuel intake valves, exhaust valves, and mounts for spark plugs and fuel injectors.
The lighting system consists of interior lights, instrument panel lighting, headlights, and taillights. Like household electrical circuits, the vehicle's lighting system is protected from current spikes by fuses and circuit breakers.
The radiator is responsible for tranferring heat from the coolant to the outside air. Radiator hoses transfer coolant to and from the engine to the radiator and a radiator cap maintains pressure in the cooling system to increase the boiling point of the coolant mixture and thus allow it to absorb more heat.
Sensors provide the data necessary for the vehicle's computer to make decisions and monitor everything from simple vehicle information like tire pressure to complexities like the chemical content of an engine's exhaust.
Suspension springs are made with wide gap coils of rigid steel cable and both hold the vehicle chassis up off the ground and absorb energy from wheel movement making for a smoother ride.
The thermostat controls coolant (and, through it, engine) temperature by regulating the flow of coolant through the radiator. A bypass tube allows coolant to bypass the radiator and flow back into the water pump when its temperature is low enough that the thermostat is closed.