Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Animated Engines

The Two Stroke Engine
In my last post I wrote about the website 507 Mechanical Movements, created and maintained by Matt Keveney.

He has also created a related website, Animated Engines, which is just as interesting and especially useful for engineering students.

The website: http://www.animatedengines.com

The Home page has 21 engines:
  • Four Stroke
  • Diesel
  • Two Stroke
  • Wankel 
  • Atkinson 
  • Gnome Rotary 
  • Jet Propulsion 
  • Steam Locomotive 
  • Oscillating Steam 
  • CO2 Motor 
  • Coomber 
  • Crank Substitute 
  • Revolving Cylinder 
  • Watt Beam 
  • Grasshopper Beam 
  • Unknown Beam 
  • Newcomen Atmospheric 
  • Two Cylinder Stirling 
  • Single Cylinder Stirling 
  • Ross Yoke Stirling 
  • Low Differential Stirling

Each illustration leads to a separate page on which the engine is animated (in color), with an insert to control the speed of the animation, or to stop it. What is particularly useful (in addition to the animation itself) is further explanation of how the engine works.

For example, the Two Stroke Engine page first has the explanation, "The two stroke engine employs both the crankcase and the cylinder to achieve all the elements of the Otto cycle in only two strokes of the piston." Then separate aspects are explained and illustrated:
  • intake
  • crankcase compression
  • transfer/exhaust
  • compression
  • power

Each of these aspects has a short description. For example, for intake:

"The fuel/air mixture is first drawn into the crankcase by the vacuum that is created during the upward stroke of the piston. The illustrated engine features a poppet intake valve; however, many engines use a rotary valve incorporated into the crankshaft."

In this short extract, there is the use of the passive (is first drawn into; the vacuum that is created), linking (first; during; however), topic-related technical vocabulary (fuel/air mixture; crankcase; vacuum; upward stroke; piston; poppet intake valve; rotary; crankshaft), and useful collocations (drawn into; vacuum created; upward stroke; incorporated into).

The entire explanation for this one engine is, of course, even more useful for engineering students as a model example of a process description that they can emulate in their own writing or presentations.

In addition to the engines, the website has a "How To" section in which Mr. Keveney explains how he makes these animations. Although he warns that, "What follows is only an outline. Please understand that this is not a complete tutorial," his explanation is in itself a useful process description (with step-by-step illustrations). Students who are interested in knowing more about how the animations are created can sign up for an update to be notified when Matt Keveney documents this technique.

No comments:

Post a Comment