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Cylinder Head: Providing the Combustion Engine's Lubrication

The flat and simple structure of most cylinder heads is what made it popular in the automobile assembly industry. This accounts for the success of the production of this kind of cylinder heads because they were fairly easy to manufacture and repair. This lead the manufacturers of small engines like for lawn mowers to have the same kind of design and form.

The Details

The cylinder head is usually a detachable metal plate that is attached to the cylinder block. The cylinder head is basically the cover of the cylinder tops that contains several valves. The cylinder is part of the combustion chamber; as such, it contains oil and water passages that is used in the lubrication and cooling process of the engine. The internal detail of the cylinder head is designed with passages where the mixture of air and fuel travels into the inlet valves into the manifold. This is where the exhaust gases travel outside to the exhaust valves. For engines that are water-cooled, the cylinder heads would have passages and integral ducts that are part of the engine's coolant. It would contain the mixture of antifreeze and water that facilitates the transfer of excess heat away from the cylinder head and into the engine.

The Construction

The cylinder head in an internal combustion engine, which is often called informally as just the head, is situated on top of a platform of a cylinder block that contains the combustion chamber. Although the combustion chamber is not always part of the combustion engine, the cylinder head would normally have spark plugs and poppet valves in it. In flathead engines, the cylinder head would have all the valve trains contained in the block, and you would see the cylinder head as a flat plate of metal with head gaskets in between and secured atop the cylinder bank.

The Designs

The flat design of most early cylinders might have been popular, however, this kind of makeup necessitated the flow of air into a convoluted path that constrains the ability of the engine to revolutionize at a higher power or a faster revolution per minute (rpm). This then led to the adoption of a different design: overhead valve or subsequently the overhead camshaft designs.

Cylinder Head
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  • Overhead Valve Design. Cylinder heads that allows the inlet and exhaust of gases through tractor or ports uses the overhead valve (OHV) design. The operation would be initiated from the engine's camshaft, which is contained within the cylinder block, transmitted into the valves pushrods into the rocker arms, and will now be mounted on the rocker shaft.
  • Overhead Camshaft Design. Engines that use the overhead camshaft (OHC) design would have the inlet and exhaust tracts similar to OHV engines. The only difference is that the camshaft in an OHC engine is located within the cylinder head, too. It is seated at the center, between the rows of the inlet and exhaust valves and utilizes the rocker arms instead of the pushrods. There are other OHC engines that you will encounter where the camshaft is situated directly above the set of valves thus eliminating the rocker arms. In this kind, bucket tappets would be utilized.

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