When you have a V8 engine in your car, is the engine have
the same power as a 4-cylinder, V6, V10, or a V12? When you see race
cars today they have 6, 8, 10, and 12 cylinders. Does if have to do with
the weight of the car, the areodinamics, or horsepower? Which is the
most powerful engine? Is it true that the more cylinders the more power?
Cylinders in a car engine are pretty much like rowers in a boat. One powerful
rower moves you as fast as lots of weak ones, but one rower makes for a jerky
ride. If a bunch of weak rowers time their motions correctly, you could get
a really smooth ride.
Regarding "Car Cylinders", the answerer says "Cylinders in a car engine are
pretty much like rowers in a boat." But they are not. Rowers always row in
synch with each other. Cylinders are made to be out-of-sync for smoother
operation. The more cylinders you have, the smoother the engine runs.
Compare a 1-cylinder minibike with a 4-cylinder motorcycle (both air-cooled),
or a 4-cylinder to an eight... big difference in smoothness.
Theoretically, one could build powerful engines with only one cylinder (in the
way that locomotive engines only had 1 cylinder per side), but large cylinders
are difficult to move quickly. Therefore to enable high RPM's (which gives the
greatest speed range for a fixed number of gears), engine manufacturers usually
turn to greater number of cylinders rather than increasing their size.
- P. Bridges
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Update: June 2012