Top Dead Center (TDC)

Definition - What does Top Dead Center (TDC) mean?

Top Dead Center is a terminology commonly used in the context of internal combustion engines and it is generally abbreviated as “TDC”. Inside the engine cylinder, Top Dead Center is the farthest position of the piston (top of the cylinder) where piston changes to the downward stroke.

Petropedia explains Top Dead Center (TDC)

Within an Internal combustion engine, piston moves in the top and bottom movement and powers up the crankshaft to provide rotational movement in the wheels. When piston reaches the top most position inside the cylinder where its upward movement just stops and converts into downward movement, that position is call Top Dead Center. At this point, the piston will not move in the upward direction anymore.

Similarly, when the piston moves in the downward direction, it reaches to a point where it will not further move in the downward direction. At this point, its downward movement is converted back into the upward movement. This position is called as Bottom Dead Center or BDC.

The movement of piston from Top Dead Center (TDC) to Bottom Dead Center (BDC) is called as “One Stroke”. To give a rotational movement, piston makes infinite number of strokes inside the engine cylinder.

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