There are several possible ways to classify internal combustion engines.
By number of strokes
Clerk Cycle 1879 6
Four-stroke engine (Otto cycle)
By type of ignition
Spark-ignition engine (commonly found as gasoline engines)
By mechanical/thermodynamical cycle (these 2 cycles do not encompass all reciprocating engines, and are infrequently used):
The following jet engine types are also gas turbines types:
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The first part of the piston downstroke
The very first internal combustion engines did not compress the mixture. The first part of the piston downstroke drew in a fuel-air mixture, then the inlet valve closed and, in the remainder of the down-stroke, the fuel-air mixture fired. The exhaust valve opened for the piston upstroke. These attempts at imitating the principle of a steam engine were very inefficient. There are a number of variations of these cycles, most notably the Atkinson and Miller cycles. The diesel cycle is somewhat different.
Split-cycle engines separate the four strokes of intake, compression, combustion and exhaust into two separate but paired cylinders. The first cylinder is used for intake and compression. The compressed air is then transferred through a crossover passage from the compression cylinder into the second cylinder, where combustion and exhaust occur. A split-cycle engine is really an air compressor on one side with a combustion chamber on the other.
Previous split-cycle engines have had two major problems?poor breathing (volumetric efficiency) and low thermal efficiency. However, new designs are being introduced that seek to address these problems.
The Scuderi Engine addresses the breathing problem by reducing the clearance between the piston and the cylinder head through various turbo charging techniques. The Scuderi design requires the use of outwardly opening valves that enable the piston to move very close to the cylinder head without the interference of the valves. Scuderi addresses the low thermal efficiency via firing after top dead centre (ATDC).
Firing ATDC can be accomplished by using high-pressure air in the transfer passage to create sonic flow and high turbulence in the power cylinder.