A cubic centimeter (cc)  is volume which is a measure of the displacement of the engine. This is the total volume of all the cylinders (no. of cylinders x cross section area x stroke length)

The term cc in any engine is the displacement of the motor measured in cubic centimeters. a car that has a 1.8L engine will have an 1800cc engine. The displacement is a calculation of the bore and the stroke.

1000 cc = one liter.
so a 1500 cc engine is the equivalent displacement of a 1.5 liter engine.

cc’s are generally used for small model engines (just a few cc’s) and motorcycles (10’s of CCs to 1000 or more) and small cars (up to about 2000 cc). Liters are used for larger cars. E.g. 1.4, 1.8,, 2.8 3.0 liters are common measurements, they go up to big V8s which can be 6 liters or more.

Before the 80’s US-made cars had displacements listed in cubic inches. Approx 60 cubic inches = 1 liter. So the big V8 engines of the 60’s and 70 muscle cars of 427 Cu In were like 7 liter engines.

Of course a large displacement can hold more fuel and air mixture and thus a bigger explosion per cylinder stroke so larger displacement usually means more power, all other things being equal and optimal.

But all things aren’t always equal. often a large displacement engine will produce a lot less power than a smaller displacement engine and this can be done with changing compression ratios, larger or smaller fuel and air  injection, different exhaust ports, and turbo chargers. Large displacement engines are naturally heavier when made the same way so high performance cars will try and get more power from a smaller engine with more costly features.

Engine Displacement Video


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