Cylinder Bank

Cylinder Bank

Internal combustion piston engines (those with more than one cylinder) are usually arranged so that the cylinders are in lines parallel to the crankshaft. Where they are in a single line, this is referred to as an inline or straight engine.

Where engines have a large number of cylinders, the cylinders are commonly arranged in two lines, placed at an angle to each other as a vee engine. Each line is referred to as a cylinder bank. The angle between cylinder banks is described as the bank angle.

Engines with six cylinders are equally common as either straight or vee engines. With more cylinders than this, the vee configuration is more common. Fewer cylinders are more usually arranged as an inline engine. There are exceptions to this: straight-8 engines were found on some pre-war luxury cars with the bonnet length to house them. A few V4 engines have also been produced, usually where an extra-compact engine was required, including some outboard motors with a vertical crankshaft. Although twin-cylinder engines are now rare for cars, they are still commonly used for motorcycles and the vee-twin and inline twin are both widely used.

An obvious advantage to a multi-bank engine is that it can be shorter in length. This allows a torsionally stiffer construction for both the crankshaft and crankcase. The most important advantage though is less obvious: a multi-plane engine can be arranged to have better balance and less vibration. This depends on the layout of the crankshaft more than the cylinder banks alone: the planes on which the pistons are arranged, thus their timing and vibration, depend on both the cylinder bank and the crankshaft angles.

Read more about Cylinder Bank:  Unusual Arrangements, Radial Engines

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