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In an internal combustion engine, the cylinder head (often informally abbreviated to just head) sits above the cylinders on top of the cylinder block. It closes in the top of the cylinder, forming the combustion chamber. This joint is sealed by a head gasket. In most engines, the head also provides space for the passages that feed air and fuel to the cylinder, and that allow the exhaust to escape. The head can also be a place to mount the valves, spark plugs, and fuel injectors.
Internally, the cylinder head has passages called ports or tracts for the fuel/air mixture to travel to the inlet valves from the intake manifold, and for exhaust gases to travel from the exhaust valves to the exhaust manifold. In a water-cooled engine, the cylinder head also contains integral ducts and passages for the engines’ coolant – usually a mixture of water and antifreeze – to facilitate the transfer of excess heat away from the head, and therefore the engine in general.
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