Instructional Resources for Internal Combustion Engines

This video series was originally created during COVID instruction protocols to facilitate hybrid teaching of the University of Kentucky, Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering’s Principles of Internal Combustion Engines course. Students were required to watch the videos before meeting in smaller groups to discuss the content and answer questions. The videos are being shared here as a resource for other instructors and students to use in engines course instruction activities. The video creators welcome feedback on how the videos are being utilized and suggestions for new resources.

The instructor presenting these videos is Dr. Tim Stombaugh. He has been a faculty member at the University of Kentucky since 2000 and has conducted Extension, Research, and Instruction activities in a variety of areas related to Machinery Systems and Automation.

A short description of each video is presented below along with a link to the corresponding YouTube video.

Suggested Citation:
Stombaugh, Tim. (2022). Instructional Resources from AEN/TSM 220: Principles of Internal Combustion Engines [Video series]. University of Kentucky Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Department.


1. Power, Torque and Speed

Engines are often classified by their output performance, namely their power output. These videos explore the concepts of force, torque, energy, and speed, and how those concepts are critical to understanding power.

1a. Force and Torque Force and Torque Explains the basic concepts of force and torque.

1b. Work, Energy, and Power Explains how the action of force and torque produce power.

2. Example Calculations of Power, Torque and Speed

Several examples of calculating torque, speed, and power are presented.  These examples build on concepts discussed in section 1 and focus on how to manage and maintain consistency of the units through the calculations.

2a. Linear Power Example Presents an example of calculating the power produced by a linear force acting on an object.

2b. Rotational Power Example Presents an example of calculating the power produced by an engine given its torque and speed.

2c. Torque Calculation, SI Presents another Torque-Speed-Power calculation using SI units.

3. Basic Principles of Internal Combustion Engines

Internal combustion engines are really engine conversion devices.  They convert the potential energy stored in chemical fuels into thermodynamic energy by combusting (burning) the fuel, then into mechanical energy by causing a shaft to rotate.  These videos explore the basic principles of how this energy conversion happens.

3a. Functional Principles of Piston-based IC Engines Explains how fuel is combusted to create thermodynamic energy causing a piston to move, which ultimately makes a shaft rotate.

3b. 4-Stroke Engines Goes into more depth on how 4-stroke engines operate.

3c. 2-Stroke Engines Goes into more depth on how 2-stroke engines operate and how they are different from 4-stroke engines.

3d. Engine Configurations Shows a few examples of different configurations of single and multiple piston engines.

4. Quantifying Engine Size

The size of an engine is often quantified by the displacement and compression ratio.  These videos explore how these quantities are measured and show several calculation examples.

4a. Engine Displacement Explores the concept of engine displacement and how it is calculated.

4b. Compression Ratio Explains how compression ratio is calculated and introduces the reason why it is important to engine performance.

5. Measuring Engine Performance

Engine Performance Measurement Explains how engine performance is measured using dynamometers.

6. Ignition Systems

Engines generally fall into two major categories with respect to the way the fuel is ignited inside the engine: spark ignition and compression ignition.  These videos talk about the major differences between these engine types and how they are related to fuel type used by the engine.  They also explore the fundamental components used by spark ignition systems.

6a. Ignition Systems Explains the differences between spark and compression ignition engines.

6b. Spark Ignition Components Describes the four fundamental components of spark ignition systems.

6c. Spark Ignition System Operation Explains how the components of a spark ignition system work together to create the igniting spark in an engine.

7. Fuel Delivery Systems

The amount of fuel and air that is introduced into an engine is critical to optimum performance.  There are a number of different techniques that can be used to control the fuel/air mixture.  These videos describe the main goals of the fuel delivery system on an engine and the fundamental techniques of carburetion and injection.

7a. Fuel Delivery Systems Introduction Highlights the main goals of any fuel delivery system and introduces the concepts of carburetion and injection.

7b. Carburetor Technology Explains Bernoulli’s principle and how it is used by carburetors to create an air/fuel mixture.

7c. Injection Systems on Compression Ignition Engines Presents detail about the basic types and functions of carburetors and introduces the complexity that can exist in more advanced carburetion systems.

7d. Fuel Injection Systems on Compression Ignition Engines Describes the basic fuel system components used on compression ignition engines.

7e. Fuel Injection Systems on Compression Ignition Engines Attempts to clear up common confusion about how injection technology is used on spark ignition engines and the differences from injection on compression ignition engines.

8. Speed Control for IC Engines

It is important to be able to control the speed of an internal combustion engine to prevent damage from overspeeding and to consistently maintain the proper operating speed for the application.  These videos will explain the importance of speed control and common mechanisms for accomplishing proper speed control.

8a. Governors Introduces the functional importance of governors and how basic mechanical governors work.

8b. Small Engine Governors Explains the function of basic mechanical governors commonly used on small gasoline engines.

8c. Governor Control Shows how engine Torque and Speed performance curves are impacted by the engine governor. Concepts discussed include governor droop and engine selection.

9. Valve Trains

The ability to get air and fuel into an engine and exhaust gasses out is often one of the major limiting factors to engine performance.  The valves are a key part of that gas exchange.  These videos explain the functional requirements of the valve train in an engine and highlight the main components of common valve train systems.

9a. Valves Lists the functional requirements of the valves in an engine and show the common components of different valve train configurations.

9b. Camshafts Explains the function and nuances of camshafts in the valve train.

9c. Valve Adjustment and Timing Explains the importance of the adjustment and timing of valve movement using ignition timing diagrams.

10. Thermodynamic Principles of IC Engines

These videos go deeper into the engine operation theory by looking at the basic thermodynamic process as illustrated with Pressure vs. Volume curves.  These discussions help us understand how the pressures within the combustion chamber affect engine performance.  It is then easier to understand the effect that different engine modifications can have on engine performance.

10a. Engine Thermodynamics Explains what P-V curves are and how they are related to the combustion in an engine.

10b. PV Curve Modifications Steps through several examples of common engine modifications, how they affect the PV curve for that engine, and ultimately what effect they have on engine performance.

10c. Real PV Curves Shows how real P-V curves for engines differ from the ideal curves and illustrates the importance of modern engine innovation and design.

11. Turbochargers and Superchargers

Turbochargers and superchargers are devices used on many different commercial and performance engines to increase the output of the engine.  This video explains how these devices work and how they affect the performance of an engine through their impact on engine P-V curves.

12. Properties of Fuels

The fuel that is used in an engine obviously has a direct effect on its operation and performance.  These videos explore the several key physical and chemical properties of fuels and how they impact engine performance.

12a. Fuel Properties Introduces the most important properties of fuel and gives some examples of different petroleum and renewable fuels used in engines.

12b. Fuel Performance Shows a mathematical way to estimate the effect different fuel properties might have on engine performance.

12c. Autoignition Explores the autoignition properties of fuel as quantified by Octane or Cetane ratings and how they affect operation and performance of spark and compression ignition engines.

12d. Fuel Efficiency Shows how to quantify the efficiency of an engine by comparing the equivalent power of the fuel being consumed by an engine to the power being produced.

13. Combustion Processes

These videos dig deeper into the combustion processes that are taking place within an engine by looking at the basic chemical reactions.  These concepts help the student understand the importance of air/fuel ratio in combustion as well as the reasons undesirable gasses are produced in exhaust emissions.

13a. Combustion Theory Uses basic chemistry knowledge to create the chemical reaction equation that governs combustion of fuels in the combustion chamber.

13b. Air Fuel Ratio Shows how to calculate the ideal air/fuel ratio for combustion of different fuels.

13c. Causes of Emissions Discusses how emissions are formed in engine exhaust through deviations from the ideal combustion reaction.

13d. Emissions Control Strategies Explains the common techniques and devices used in modern engines to reduce harmful emissions.

14. Engine Cooling

Much of the fuel energy consumed by an engine that is not converted to useful power output results in the production of heat.  This video illustrated the importance of cooling an engine to prevent damage and shows examples of different cooling techniques. Video

15. Engine Lubrication

Many technical advances have been implemented in engine lubrication technology.  These videos explore the different kinds of lubrication systems that are utilized in engines and the properties of the fluids that are used in these system.

15a. Lubrication Systems Describes the basic types of lubricating systems that are utilized in engines of various sizes.

15b. Lubricant Properties Lists and explains the critical properties of lubricating fluids and how to choose the correct fluid for an engine.