Textbooks on internal combustion engines
February 26, 2014 7:22 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to find a textbook about internal combustion engines. Can you recommend one?

My end goal is to build a tiny model engine, but before I dive in I'd like to understand how they work.

Thank you!
posted by aeighty to Technology (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Not a textbook, but a small engine you can build that takes you through how they work, including step by step instructions (UK site). It is made by well regarded UK motor manual publishers Haynes.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:29 AM on February 26, 2014

This might be fun for a start, before you make your own.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:35 AM on February 26, 2014

I think you're looking for information on reciprocating engines, but jet engines are also internal combustion. I like this book for a good high level understanding of jet engine physics. (A pulsejet could also potentially be easier to build than a model reciprocating engine.)
posted by backseatpilot at 8:05 AM on February 26, 2014

This is the textbook I used recently to teach a small engines class at the university level:
Small Engines, Bruce Radcliff
It does a fine job, but I can't in good conscience recommend a $75.00 textbook to anyone.
Another option is to check with various manufacturers-- Caterpillar, John Deere, etc. They often print small textbooks explaining the fundamentals of small engine operation, and sell them at cost as part of their support process. Unfortunately, for the Caterpillar ones, you usually have to have a dealer order them for you-- they are around $10, and very good. A similar one from John Deere you can order online is their Compact Engines line. It is $40, though. I would also advise you to look at explanatory books about automobiles, like this one or this one. Actually, now that I think of it, that first link to the Chilton book isn't really that good, but it might be worth $3 to buy it used. Good luck!
posted by seasparrow at 9:38 AM on February 26, 2014

I got my PhD in mechanical engineering from MIT studying automotive engine efficiency and emissions.

John Heywood's book is the best, but perhaps too technical to start depending on your background. The Bosch engine handbook is great. CF Taylor has a good one, as does Richard Stone.

Old editions of the latter two can be found quite cheaply.

Look up the course called 2.61 on MIT open courseware (OCW). It is graduate level, but fairly accessible I think.

Also, I'd be happy to help out if you ever need a translation to plain English.
posted by KevCed at 10:37 AM on February 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

This book did more for as a gear heads to understand IC engines, .PERIOD.

posted by raildr at 11:56 AM on February 26, 2014

There are some really good guides online for engine basics.

Here is one. geared toward high performance engine modders.

As you learn about engines types some animations can be really, really helpful.

Here is a useful site.

I have yet to be in a used book store without a few textbooks from trade schools for engine/car repair, and they are usually really cheap. Anything by Haynes is usually easy to read. Chiltons is more technically deep but you have to have a bigger knowledge base to get anything from theirs(both publishers also have model specific books-which you aren't asking about-only get the general knowledge books if you find any).
posted by bartonlong at 2:02 PM on February 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

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