Why do internal combustion engines need gearboxes?


Why do internal combustion engines need gearboxes?

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The cylinders in an internal combustion engine must fire fast to keep the engine turning constantly. Generally it must turn at a very minimum of around 80-120RPM (revolutions per minute) but up to several thousand RPM for high performance engines.

There are very few uses for such high (native) speeds of rotation (direct drive prop airplanes being a notable exception), so gears (and other [reduction drive](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reduction_drive) systems, such as belts) let you convert those speeds to more manageable and useful speeds.

Internal combustion engines deliver torque in a limited speed range of the motor. The addition of a gearbox allows manufacturers to transfer the power from the motor to the wheels. This allows the torque of the vehicle to match the RPM and the car can move.

**What is a gearbox?**

– A gearbox or transmission is a mechanical device that controls the speed and torque output of a power source, like an internal combustion engine (ICE) or electric motor, and transfers that power to wheels or other driven parts.
– It does this by employing different gear ratios, i.e. changes gears to adjust the engine’s speed to match operating conditions, thus altering the rotational speed and torque at the output while maintaining the input power’s consistency.
– Gearboxes are essential components in various applications, including automotive, industrial, and machinery sectors, enabling efficient power transfer and adaptability to diverse operating conditions.

**Why does an internal combustion engine (ICE) need a gearbox?**

– An ICE is a machine that burns fuel, thus converting chemical energy, to produce power for mechanical work. It is commonly used in cars, motorcycles, and many other vehicles.
– ICE’s run efficiently in a narrow range of rotations per minute (RPMs). A gearbox is the interface between the engine and the driven wheels of the machinery. Adapting its power output to different driving speeds and loads.
– The gearbox helps the engine run efficiently and allows the vehicle to start, accelerate, and drive at various speeds.
– By changing gears, the gearbox can multiply torque at lower speeds for better acceleration and maneuverability, and reduce torque at higher speeds to improve fuel efficiency and overall performance.
– Other things the gearbox provides are a reverse gear and the ability to idle.

**What other engines use gearboxes?**

– Some other engines that use gearboxes include electric motors and industrial machines.
– Although electric motors operate efficiently over a broad range of speeds, gearboxes still help adjust their speed and torque, and they also enable machines to work effectively at different speeds and loads.