Piston Powered

The internal combustion engine. These sophisticated (although dated) pieces of machinery power most of our cars and take us everywhere while meeting strict standards for performance, cost, and emissions control.

There is a class at Stanford University’s Mechanical Engineering department that is dedicated to automobile engines and took a peek into the complexities of how they are designed and how they function. It is truly amazing how much technology is packed into this relatively small package that is so ubiquitous in our lives. In the class, students learn the theory of engine performance, code an engine simulation, and have lab sessions in which they took apart several engines and even run a couple of them on a test stand.

A sneak peak of what you’ll see here:
- The pure awesomeness of engines
- Exhaust gas analyzer for CO, CO2, H2, NO, HC gasses
- Corvette engine we ran up to 6000 RPM
- Engine control room behind blast-proof glass
- Janky, dinosaur computers running Windows NT®
- Huge-ass diesel truck engine
- Pistons, valves, injectors, and more shiny things