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IC Engine vs EC Engine-Difference between IC Engine and EC Engine

This page compares IC Engine vs EC Engine and mentions difference between IC Engine and EC Engine. IC Engine stands for Internal Combustion engine and EC engine stands for External Combustion engine.

What is Engine?: A device which converts chemical energy into thermal energy or heat energy and then uses this energy to perform some mechanical work. There are two main types of heat engines viz. IC engine and EC engine.

IC Engine | Internal Combustion engine

IC Engine

The figure-1 depicts typical IC engine. In this type of engine, burning of fuel occurs in confined space known as combustion chamber.

EC Engine | External Combustion engine

EC Engine

The figure-2 depicts typical EC engine. It uses working fluid either liquid or gas or both. In this type of engine, working fluid is heated by a fuel burned outside of the engine.

Specifications IC Engine EC Engine
Full form Internal combustion engine External combustion engine
Fluid One working fluid Two working fluid
Combustion location Inside the cylinder Outside the cylinder
Size Small Large
Heat transfer No heat transfer and hence heat losses are less Heat transfer takes place from one fluid to the another and hence heat losses are more
Advantages Simple in design, less in weight, high overall efficiency, portable, lower cost High starting torque, cheap fuels including solid fuels
Disadvantages Vibration issue, inability to use wide variety of fuels. Less suitable for transport vehicles due to heavy weight , high initial cost, difficult to transport working fluid
Examples Diesel engine, Petrol engine, Gas engine Steam Engine, Steam turbine
Heat exchangers Not required Required
Operating temperature Higher Moderately higher


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