Along Came the Engine (Part 2)
||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||grades 5 to 7
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||air-fuel, combusts, external-combustion, gottlieb, internal-combustion, mushroom-shaped, physicist, recap, spark-ignition, unburned, ignition, burning, disadvantage, compression, plunger, nitrogen
||Along Came, Christian Huygens, Alphonse Beau, Nikolaus A., Sir Dougald Clerk, Joseph Day, George Brayton, Gottlieb Daimler, Transportation Unit
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Along Came the Engine (Part 2)
By Trista L. Pollard
1 In Part 1 of Along Came the Engine, you read about how external-combustion engines like the steam engine helped to define transportation in America and worldwide during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It was also during this time that inventors were exploring the use of internal-combustion engines to propel vehicles. In internal-combustion engines, fuel is burned in a confined space and the gas that is produced is used directly to provide mechanical power. Let's take a trip back in time to see how this engine got its start.
2 A Dutch physicist named Christian Huygens around 1680 began experimenting with the internal-combustion engines. He was considered to be the first scientist on record to explore this type of device. However, it was not until 1859 that J.J. Étienne Lenoir, a French engineer, built a spark-ignition engine that operated continuously. In a spark-ignition engine, a spark plug ignites the fuel, the fuel combusts or burns, and gases are produced for mechanical energy. French scientist Alphonse Beau de Rochas in 1862 received a patent for a four-stroke engine. However, de Rochas did not use his design to build the engine. It was in 1878 that Nikolaus A. Otto built the first successful four-stroke engine. He even had a nickname for his creation: the "Otto cycle." That same year, Sir Dougald Clerk constructed the first successful two-stroke engine. His version which was built in a simpler form by Joseph Day in 1891 is still in use today. In 1873, an American engineer named George Brayton completed a two-stroke kerosene engine. However, his contribution, although great, was too slow and too large to be used by manufacturers.
3 The year 1885 was the magic year for internal-combustion engines. Gottlieb Daimler built the closest representative to the gas engine that we use today. His engine was small and fast with a vertical cylinder. It used gasoline that was injected through a carburetor. In 1889, Daimler built a four-stroke engine with mushroom-shaped valves and two cylinders that were arranged in a V. This was a very powerful engine; however, there was one slight part missing. The engine did not have the electric ignition or starter that we have today. Electric starters did not drive onto the scene until 1924. Just think, the engine in your parent's SUV is descended from "Grandpa Daimler's" engine. We have had our trip back through time, so let's talk about "strokes."
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