A reciprocating engine, also often known as a piston engine, is typically a heat engine (although there are also pneumatic and hydraulic reciprocating engines) that uses one or more reciprocating pistons to convert pressure into a rotating motion.
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Reciprocating engines may be classified according to the cylinder arrangement (in line, V-type, radial, and opposed) or according to the method of cooling (liquid cooled or air cooled). Actually, all piston engines are cooled by transferring excess heat to the surrounding air.
Reciprocating engines operate by converting the heat and pressure released during combustion of fuel mixed with air into mechanical energy. ... The resulting exothermic reaction creates gases under high temperature and pressure, which expand by driving the piston downward to produce rotational energy.
A reciprocating engine is an engine that uses one or more pistons in order to convert pressure into rotational motion. They use the reciprocating (up-and-down) motion of the pistons to translate this energy.
Reciprocating engines that are powered by compressed air, steam or other hot gases are still used in some applications such as to drive many modern torpedoes or as pollution-free motive power. Most steam-driven applications use steam turbines, which are more efficient than piston engines.