Engine Capacity (cc)

Engine Capacity (CC): Engine Volume/Displacement?


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What is Engine Capacity (cc):

The term “cc” stands for Cubic Centimeters or simply cm³ which is a metric unit to measure the Engine's Capacity or its volume. It is the unit of measuring the volume of a cube having a size of 1cm X 1cm X 1cm. CC is also known as ‘Engine Displacement’. It means the displacement of the piston inside the cylinder from the Top Dead Centre (TDC) to the Bottom Dead Centre (BDC) in the engine’s one complete cycle. The Engine Volume is also measured in Liters corresponding to Cubic Centimeters.

Figure 1 showing Engine Capacity (cc)
Figure 1 showing Engine Capacity (cc)

If an engine has a capacity of say 1000cc or 1000 Cubic Centimeters, then the capacity of that engine is 1 Liter.

For e.g.

1000cc = 1000cm³ = 1 Liter = 1.0L

Similarly,

800cc = 800cm³ = 0.8 Liter = 0.8L

How to measure Engine capacity or Engine Volume:

To calculate the volume of an engine you can use the formula-

V = π/4 x (D)² x H x N

Where, V = Volume, D = Bore Diameter, H = Stroke Length, N = No. of Cylinders

It is the combined capacity for all cylinders of the engine added together while it completes its one cycle. For example, if a four-cylinder engine has a capacity of 1000cc or 1.0L, that means all the four cylinders can together accommodate a maximum of 1000 cubic centimeters or 1.0L of the volume of air (or the air-fuel mixture) in them. If the engine has only one cylinder, then that lone cylinder will accommodate all of the 1000cc or 1.0L of air inside it. By the way, the world's first automotive - the Mercedes-Benz MotorWagen featured a single-cylinder 1.0-liter engine (954cc to be precise) to power it.

How Engine Capacity affects its performance:

The engine's capacity plays an important role in determining various engine outputs such as engine power, torque, and mileage. It is the volume, or in other words, the space available inside the cylinder to accommodate air-fuel mixture for burning. Consider that it is just like a drum filled with water. The bigger the drum, more the water it can accumulate and guzzle.

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