When I graduated from high school, I was convinced that mechanical engineering was what I wanted to learn more than anything. Having done my fair share of taking vehicles apart in my teens (some of them even working when reassembled), I thought that engine designers were gods. Just the fact that an engine works regardless of its starting temperature was proof that man had overcome nature and that the physical rules that held the planet together could be warped by man whenever he needed more horsepower or torque.
In college, I discovered alcohol and software engineering and the profound elegance of the internal combustion engine was lost somewhere in the blur between beer pong and punch cards.
All of this came back to me when I watched this video of the virtual assembly of a very basic four-cylinder engine. Nothing fancy here. No turbochargers, no variable valve timing, not even eight cylinders (or 10, 12 or 16). The fact that these things work at any temperature, let alone widely variable temperatures still amazes me.
Note: Highly recommended video for teenagers who don’t have a clue about how this stuff works. My son pointed it out to me and he knows how engines work. Even he said he learned a lot.