Four stroke cycle

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The four-stroke internal combustion engine is the type most commonly used for automotive and industrial purposes today (cars and trucks, generators, etc). On the first (downward) stroke of the piston, fuel/air is drawn into the cylinder. The following (upward) stroke compresses the fuel-air mixture, which is then ignited - expanding exhaust gases then force the piston downward for the third stroke, and the fourth and final (upward) stroke evacuates the spent exhaust gasses from the cylinder.

The four-stroke cycle is more efficient than the two-stroke cycle, but requires considerably more moving parts and manufacturing expertise.