Camshaft and Crankshafts

Since the invention of automobiles and their internal combustion engines, such vehicles and apparatuses have come a long way in their capabilities and advancements. With more efficient combustion and greater torque transmission, automobiles are faster, more fuel-efficient, and powerful than they have ever been. While a number of components serve important roles in providing such power, the camshaft and crankshaft components in particular are crucial to initiating engine cycles and transferring torque to the transmission.

Camshafts are revolving metal rods that contain pointed cams, and they are often implemented above the cylinders at the head of the engine. The most popular materials for camshafts are cast iron or steel, and they can come in either a single over-head cam (SOHC) or dual over-head cam (DOHC) orientation. To allow for the camshaft to interact with rocker arms and open engine valves, lobes are placed on the shaft of the rod in varying positions. With an egg shaped design and a pointy end on side, the lobes are specifically designed to contact the rocker arms at specific points of the engine cycle. As such, fuel and air mixtures can enter cylinders and exhaust can be expelled on set intervals for optimal operations. When the shaft lobes pass the arm, a spring ensures that valves are closed automatically.

As having precise timing in regard to rotations, actuation, and other procedures is crucial for the performance of the engine, camshafts are controlled with a cambelt. With a timing belt synchronized with the crankshaft, the opening of valves is specifically aligned with the engine cycle to prevent any safety hazards or possible damages. If the automobile features an inline four-cylinder engine and SOHC orientation, one camshaft is often used. With V8 engines that have SOHC orientation, two camshafts may be implemented with one on each side of the assembly.

Within the engine block of the automobile, the crankshaft may be found under the cylinder assembly. With crankshafts, the piston’s vertical movements can be harnessed and transformed into a rotational motion that is then transferred to the transmission through the flywheel. With cranks and crankpins, connecting rods can be attached for motion translation. With the specific placement of crankpins, cylinders are permitted to operate from the top dead center position to the bottom dead center for more optimal performance.

While automobile crankshafts have come a long way since their invention, a majority of power loss within the engine is caused by the crankshaft area. Ranging from friction to vibration, a number of forces can deter the transfer of power. To minimize the amount of power that is typically lost by the crankshaft, engineers often seek to make the components as short as possible. This is why V8 engines have quickly become a desirable design for automobile engines as they ensure a smaller crankshaft assembly for the benefit of preventing unwanted flexing. With a proper crankshaft and camshaft assembly, any number of automobiles can operate efficiently through the transferring of power.


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