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Difference Between Motor and Engine

Man has made many innovations to ease the mundane tasks of daily life. There was a time when humans had to ride animals for travelling and spend hours doing the simplest things because there were no mechanical inventions.


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Today, humankind has reached a level where travelling to far places can be done in hours, and daily life chores take just a few minutes. All of this credit goes to the technological advancements that man has achieved in all these years.

The automobile industry is one such industry where humans have made their mark in the world. This industry is a billion dollar-industry where vehicles of all kinds are designed, manufactured and sold.

The two most essential components in the development of these vehicles are the motor and engine. These two terms are often used interchangeably but are different in their technical meanings.

Key Takeaways

  1. Motors convert electrical, hydraulic, or pneumatic energy into mechanical energy to produce motion.
  2. Engines convert thermal energy, often generated by fuel combustion, into mechanical energy.
  3. While the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, motors typically refer to devices powered by electricity, and engines refer to devices using internal combustion or external heat sources.

Motor vs Engine

The difference between a motor and an engine is that a motor converts electrical energy into mechanical energy while the engine converts other forms of energy like chemicals, heat, and steam into mechanical power. The other differences between the two devices lie in their structure, working principles and arrangement of their components.

Motor vs Engine

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Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonMotorEngine
DefinitionA device that converts electrical energy into mechanical work.A device that converts other forms of energy into mechanical works.
Running MechanismMotors run on batteries or electricity.Engines primarily run on fuel.
Main ComponentsRotor, stator, commutator and brushes are the main components of a motor.Piston, cylinder and crankshaft are the main components of an engine.
EfficiencyMotors are more efficient due to less power loss.Engines are less efficient due to power loss in combustion.
ExamplesWashing machine, fans, vacuum cleanerCars, ships, trains and other automobile vehicles.


What is Motor?

A motor is a device that converts electrical energy into rotational mechanical energy.

Motors work on the principle of electromagnetism. When an electric current is passed through a rectangular coil placed in a magnetic field, a force acts on the coil, making it rotate continuously.

The coil rotates as long as the current is applied to it.

There are four major components of the motor: The stator, rotor, commutator, and brushes. The stator is the motor’s stationary part, consisting of a permanent magnet.

The rotor is the moving part of the motor and is usually the coils winded around the stator. When the current flows through the coil, it interacts with the magnetic field to impart rotational mechanical force.

The commutator acts like a switch that reverses the direction of current in the motor. This is important so that the ends of the coil do not halt the motion because of the attraction or repulsion of the north and south poles.

The brushes of a motor are typically made of graphite and supply electric current between the stator and the rotor. There are two main types of motors: DC motor and AC motor.

DC motors work on direct currents, such as batteries, whereas AC motors work on alternating current cycles.


What is Engine?

An engine is a device that converts other forms of energy like chemicals, heat, and steam into mechanical energy.

Have you ever wondered how a car works? A car has an internal combustion engine that converts burning fuel’s heat into mechanical work.

The main body of the engine is a cylinder. The cylinder has pistons that move up and down inside the cylinder case.

Pistons are connected to a crankshaft that turns the piston’s motion circular which then rotates the crankshaft.

In the combustion chamber, there is an explosion occurs after each minute due to the mixing of fuel with oxygen. The mixture is compressed when the pistons move up.

Here the spark plug plays its role by igniting the mixture and creating an explosion. This powers the pistons to move up and down.

Intake and exhaust valves let the air in and the burnt gases out. But the valves remain closed during the combustion and compression of the fuel mixture.

This is how the engine powers the wheels to keep the car moving.

There are two types of engines in general: The external combustion engine and the Internal Combustion engine.

In the external combustion engine, the combustion takes place outside the engine. The energy could be heat produced by burning the fuel or steam produced by water.

In the internal combustion engine, the combustion occurs inside the engine. Here the combustion occurs only by burning fuel such as diesel and petrol.


Main Differences Between Motor and Engine

The four major distinct features which differentiate motor and engine are listed below:

  1. A motor is a device that converts electrical energy into mechanical work, whereas an engine converts other various forms of energy into mechanical work.
  2. Motors primarily run on batteries or electricity, while engines run on fuel such as petrol, steam or heat.
  3. The main components of the motor include the rotor, stator and commutator, whereas the engine’s main components include pistons, cylinder and crankshaft.
  4. The efficiency of motors is high due to less power loss, while the efficiency of engines is low compared to motors due to high power loss during combustion.
Difference Between Motor and Engine
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