Rockett, Frank H. Engineering Consultant, Charlottesville, Virginia.
Last reviewed:November 2019
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A machine designed for the conversion of energy into useful mechanical motion. The principal characteristic of an engine is its capacity to deliver appreciable mechanical power, as contrasted to a mechanism such as a clock, whose significant output is motion. By usage an engine is usually a machine that burns or otherwise consumes a fuel, as differentiated from an electric machine that produces mechanical power without altering the composition of matter. Similarly, a spring-driven mechanism is said to be powered by a spring motor; a flywheel acts as an inertia motor. By definition a hydraulic turbine is not an engine, although it competes with the engine as a prime source of mechanical power. See also: Energy conversion; Hydraulic turbine; Motor; Prime mover; Waterpower
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