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This mechanism is used to convert between rotary motion and reciprocating motion, it works either way. Notice how the speed of the piston changes. The piston starts from one end of the cylinder and increases its speed. It reaches maximum speed in the middle of its travel then gradually slows down until it reaches the end of its travel.

The Piston in a car engine is used to convert reciprocating (back and forth) motion on the piston into rotary motion at the axle. The piston is forced down by burning fuel above it. As the piston moves down, the connecting rod or conrod turns the crank and in turn the axle. In an engine, there is a flywheel which keeps the axle moving so that the piston is returned to the top of the stroke to start the process again.


This cutaway view shows the key components of the piston mechanism.


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