In this activity, students will watch a video and answer related questions about the mechanical and chemical processed used in the internal combustion engine. Additionally they will learn about reactions and fuel types as well as the history and evolution of the combustion engine.
By the end of this activity, students should be able to
- Describe a combustion reaction.
- Understand how energy is created in a combustion reaction, and harnessed for use in the internal combustion engine.
- Identify some common components of hydrocarbon fuel sources used in vehicles.
- Describe some basic differences between gasoline and diesel as fuel options.
This activity supports students’ understanding of
- Energy & Thermodynamics
- Exothermic & Endothermic
- Combustion Reactions
- Molecular Structure
Teacher Preparation: minimal
Lesson: 10 minutes
- The Internal Combustion Engine Video
- Student Handout
- Projector with Volume
- AACT Student Video Pass (optional)
- No specific safety precautions need to be observed for this activity.
- The Internal Combustion Engine video was developed as a part of the 2016 AACT-Ford, Chemistry of Cars content writing team project, sponsored by the Ford Motor Company. The entire video series can be found here.
- Additionally, 19 lesson plans related to the Chemistry of Cars theme were developed by the content writing participants. You can learn even more about this project by reading an article from the September 2016 issue of Chemistry Solutions, written by the lead teacher involved in this project.
- The running time of this video is approximately four minutes.
- This video is intended for students to watch, and for teachers to integrate into their curriculum.
- The student questions/answers are presented in sequential order in the video.
- An answer key has also been provided for teacher reference.
- Videos can be shown with the use of a classroom projector, or teachers can generate a Student Video Pass through their AACT membership to allow students to independently access the video.
For the Student
While watching the Internal Combustion Engine Video, answer the following questions:
- What type of reaction is combustion?
- What type of fuel do most cars use?
- What elements make-up hydrocarbon molecules?
- What type of reactions release “heat”?
- What are some benefits of Diesel over Gasoline?
- What are some cons with diesel engines?
- How much less efficient is ethanol compared to gasoline?
- What are 2 byproducts in a standard combustion reaction?
Bonus: Why might a diesel engine be safer? *hint, think in terms of the ideal gas law.