Reciprocating internal combustion is one of the most widely used engines around the world. This is the same engine which is used in our cars and bikes.

Four Stroke engines

As like every other heat engine, there are some advantages and some Disadvantages of reciprocating internal combustion engines.

Let us start one by one.

Advantages of reciprocating internal combustion engines

  1. Unlike steam turbine no heat exchanger required in reciprocating internal combustion engines, which results in mechanical simplicity and improved power plant efficiency.
  2. As compared to steam or gas turbines, the average working temperatures of reciprocating internal combustion engines is very low. The reason is that the peak temperature exists for a very less time (in a cycle). This results in the application of high temperatures resulting in high thermal efficiency of reciprocating internal combustion engines.
  3. In reciprocating internal combustion engines high thermal efficiency can be obtained by the application of moderate maximum working pressure of the fluid. This results in less weight to power ratio in reciprocating internal combustion engines. Hence for the same power reciprocating internal combustion engines have less weight compared a steam power plant.
  4. It is also possible with reciprocating internal combustion engines to generate very small power output (even a fraction of kilowatt) with reasonable thermal efficiency and cost.

Disadvantages of reciprocating internal combustion engines

  1. Due to reciprocating parts more vibrations are produced in reciprocating internal combustion engines. This results in decreased lifespan.
  2. It is also not possible to use variety of fuels with reciprocating internal combustion engines (like coal, wood etc.).
  3. Fuels used in reciprocating internal combustion engines are relatively more expensive than fuels used in steam or gas power plant.
  4. Due to reciprocating parts consumption of lubricants is also high in reciprocating internal combustion engines as compared to steam power plant.
  5. Reciprocating internal combustion engines are only suitable, when we need low power output. for high power output generally steam power plants are used (like generation of electricity etc.).

I hope now you understand all the advantages and disadvantages of internal combustion engines. If you still have some doubts, please connect with me through the comments section.

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