Types of Engine Cylinder Arrangement. Inline Engine, V Engine, Radial Engine, Delta Engine, Opposed Piston, Opposed Cylinder
Reciprocal engine can be classified on the basis of the arrangement of cylinder (Only applicable for multi-cylinder engine). Popular cylinder arrangements are described below
Before you read the following description, read: What is cylinder row and cylinder bank
This is the most common in an automobile engine. This type of engine arrangement has only one cylinder bank. ie all cylinders of engine arranged in linearly, and all of them transmit power to a single crankshaft. Inline engine with four and six cylinders is popular in automotive industries.
Advantages inline engine
Design of engine block simple, cheaper.
Running of four-cylinder inline engine is smoother than the one or two cylinder engines.
Inline engine design does not need heavy counterweights.
Why inline engine arrangement not popular for high power cars?
Because of simplicity, inline engine is popular in economy cars. However, it suffers secondary imbalance and causes minor vibration in the smaller engine. This vibration also increases as the size and power of increases. For this reason, the powerful engine does not adopt inline arrangement
V engines have two cylinder banks and one crankshaft. It is literally the assembly of two inline engine arrangement (appear to be in "V" shape). This arrangement reduces the overall engine length, height and weight compared to the equivalent inline arrangement. Two cylinder banks inclined at an angle to each other and also each of them inclined to crankshaft. The angle between two cylinder banks is known as bank angle. In narrow bank angle V engines, cylinders are combined into a single cylinder block. Engine with more than six cylinder usually adopts this cylinder arrangement. Most high powered automobile use eight cylinder v engine (four engine is in inline on each side of V).
In a radial engine, the cylinders arranged in equally spaced around the one crankshaft. Ie the cylinders are arranged radially in a circle. Pistons of these cylinders are coupled to the same crankshaft. The radial arrangement is widely used in large air crafts until gas turbine engines became predominant. In air cooled aircraft engine with 3, 5, 7 or 9 cylinders are used radial arrangement. For the higher capacity of engine multi-row radial engine is used.
Opposed cylinder engine/ Flat engine/ Boxer engine
Opposed piston engine
In this type of arrangement, single engine cylinder houses two piston and has no cylinder head. Each piston drives two separate crankshafts. The movement of piston made synchronised by coupling this two crankshaft. The type engine usually working on the principle of two-stroke engine. The advantages opposed piston includes, it get rid heavy cylinder head, and it is a well balanced arrangement. The opposed piston engine is used in large diesel plants.
Delta type engine/ Napier Deltic engine
It is a combination of three opposed piston engine. The piston of this engine is coupled to three interlinked crankshafts.
This is a variation of V type with four banks of cylinder attached to the single crankshaft. This twinned V block engine has four banks and appeared as X shape. X type arrangement is extremely uncommon because of its complexity and weight.
In this type two opposed cylinder type is connected to two separate but interconnected crankshaft. It shows excellent mechanical balance.
U type engine
In u type engine, two separate straight engine joined by using gears or chains. It appears in the shape of U. This cylinder arrangement is uncommon as it is heavier than the similar V engine.
It is similar to V engine but it has three or four cylinder bank engine banks.