Q:

What is the purpose of a flywheel in an engine?

A:

Quick Answer

The purpose of a flywheel in an engine is to store energy. The energy stored by the flywheel helps steady the rotation of shaft when the torque applied to the shaft is uneven.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

A flywheel is a disc with it's weight concentrated toward the outer circumference. When the disc is spun it stores energy by virtue of its angular momentum. This means that it resists changes to its rotational speed. When the load applied to the crankshaft is uneven, as with a piston, the flywheel keeps the crankshaft turning smoothly in between power strokes. In an internal combustion engine the pistons only provide power during one in every four strokes. The flywheel keeps the crankshaft turning smoothly during the other three rotations.

Additionally, the pistons and connecting rods are offset from the crankshaft and want to push the crankshaft from side to side with each piston stroke. The energy stored by the flywheel dampens this process and reduces engine vibration, thus balancing the engine. By maintaining engine speed and balance, flywheels help to extend the useful life of other components connected to the engine. By adjusting the weight of the flywheel, the engine can be tuned to work at optimal efficiency under a variety of work loads.

Learn more about Motion & Mechanics

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is a pulley drive system?

    A:

    Pulley drive systems use wheels and belts to transfer power from an engine or other locomotive force to an axle where it can do work. Pulley drive systems allow engineers to change the rotating speed and torque based on what the target source requires. Many automobiles use pulley drive systems to power the alternator and air conditioner.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do steam engines work?

    A:

    Steam is produced by a boiler in the engine, which is then sent into a cylinder that contains a piston onto which the steam puts pressure until it moves and in turn moves the machinery attached to it. Once the piston has moved its full cycle, a valve opens releasing the cooler steam out into the air outside of the cylinder. This release of steam allows the piston to return to its original position so that the process can be completed.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some causes of railroad derailments?

    A:

    Railroad derailments can occur due to a wide variety of causes, such as collisions between trains, improper maintenance, sleep-deprived or overworked train crews, or mechanical failures involving a train's railcars or engine. Traveling at inappropriately high speeds during poor weather conditions can also cause a train to derail.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do pistons work?

    A:

    A piston is a cylindrical plunger that moves within a metal cylinder through the four strokes of the engine cycle: intake, compression, power and exhaust. While their motion is predicated on other engine parts and the mixture of air and fuel, the motion of a piston is central to the functioning of an engine.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore