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Chapter: Mechanical - Dynamics of Machines - Balancing

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Balancing of Single Cylinder Engine

A single cylinder engine produces three main vibrations. In describing them we will assume that the cylinder is vertical. Firstly, in an engine with no balancing counterweights, there would be an enormous vibration produced by the change in momentum of the piston, gudgeon pin, connecting rod and crankshaft once every revolution.

BALANCING OF SINGLE CYLINDER ENGINE:

 

A single cylinder engine produces three main vibrations. In describing them we will assume that the cylinder is vertical. Firstly, in an engine with no balancing counterweights, there would be an enormous vibration produced by the change in momentum of the piston, gudgeon pin, connecting rod and crankshaft once every revolution. Nearly all single-cylinder crankshafts incorporate balancing weights to reduce this. While these weights can balance the crankshaft completely, they cannot completely balance the motion of the piston, for two reasons. The first reason is that the balancing weights have horizontal motion as well as vertical motion, so balancing the purely vertical motion of the piston by a crankshaft weight adds a horizontal vibration. The second reason is that, considering now the vertical motion only, the smaller piston end of the connecting rod (little end) is closer to the larger crankshaft end (big end) of the connecting rod in mid-stroke than it is at the top or bottom of the stroke, because of the connecting rod's angle. So during the 180° rotation from mid-stroke through top-dead-center and back to mid-stroke the minor contribution to the piston's up/down movement from the connecting rod's change of angle has the same direction as the major contribution to the piston's up/down movement from the up/down movement of the crank pin. By contrast, during the 180° rotation from mid-stroke through bottom-dead-center and back to mid-stroke the minor contribution to the piston's up/down movement from the connecting rod's change of angle has the opposite direction of the major contribution to the piston's up/down movement from the up/down movement of the crank pin. The piston therefore travels faster in the top half of the cylinder than it does in the bottom half, while the motion of the crankshaft weights is sinusoidal. The vertical motion of the piston is therefore not quite the same as that of the balancing weight, so they can't be made to cancel out completely.

 

Secondly, there is a vibration produced by the change in speed and therefore kinetic energy of the piston. The crankshaft will tend to slow down as the piston speeds up and absorbs energy, and to speed up again as the piston gives up energy in slowing down at the top and bottom of the stroke. This vibration has twice the frequency of the first vibration, and absorbing it is one function of the flywheel.

 

Thirdly, there is a vibration produced by the fact that the engine is only producing power during the power stroke. In a four-stroke engine this vibration will have half the frequency of the first vibration, as the cylinder fires once every two revolutions. In a two -stroke engine, it will have the same frequency as the first vibration. This vibration is also absorbed by the flywheel.

 

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