Internal Combustion Engines & Engineering Merit Badge*

*You don't have to be in Scouts to participate in this class. For those who are in Scouts, we will cover most of the requirements for the Engineering Merit Badge, though some at-home research may also be required to complete the workbook (see Engineering Merit Badge Guidelines for more information). Merit Badges® and Scouts® are registered trademarks owned by Boy Scouts of America.

Student using ratchet to loosen engine bolt in mechanical engineering summer camp

Have you ever seen inside an internal combustion engine? Do you know how to use mechanics tools, ratchets, wrenches, etc?

In this class, you are going to completely take apart a lawn mower engine and put it back together again! And there won't be any "oops, where did this go" when you're done either.

Remember, this is an engineering class. You're going to learn how an engine works, how it was manufactured, and how it was designed by the engineers who created it. We will discuss the scientific theory behind 4-stroke and 2-stroke piston-driven internal combustion engines as well as diesel (big truck) engines.

You'll learn how to take measurements and calculate engine displacement and how to compare the lawn mower engine to the engine in your family's car. This will let you predict how much horsepower your car's engine can produce. You'll learn how turbochargers and superchargers are used to boost the output of an engine and we'll discuss volumetric efficiency and compression ratio. You'll even learn how this relates to Octane ratings of gasoline and when and why you have to use premium gas — or suffer engine damage if you don't!

We are also going to teach you the basics of how to take mechanisms apart and put them back together correctly. When Mr. Dalton jumps his Motocross bike at 60MPH, it's rather important to him that he assembled the rear suspension correctly the last time he greased it! You won't be ready to work on the family car after this class, but you'll definitely have a new found respect for the mechanic who does.

CONCEPT EXPOSURE

PRACTICAL SKILLS

Note: No, we won't start the engine afterwards (sorry, you need a little more experience before that) and each engine has already been taken apart at least once to clean it up and cut down on the disassembly time. We don't have a spare hour to deal with a pesky hard-to-loosen rusted bolt.

 
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Big thanks to Atlantic Coast Power Equipment, Inc. for generously donating some of the engines used in our class! Please support them! (919-284-0010)