An engine or motor is a machine designed to convert one form of energy into mechanical energy. Heat engines burn a fuel to create heat, which then creates a force. Electric motors convert electrical energy into mechanical motion; pneumatic motors use compressed air and clockwork motors in wind-up toys use elastic energy. In biological systems, molecular motors, like myosins in muscles, use chemical energy to create forces and eventually motion.

A heat engine may also serve as a prime mover—a component that transforms the flow or changes in pressure of a fluid into mechanical energy. An automobile powered by an internal combustion engine may make use of various motors and pumps, but ultimately all such devices derive their power from the engine. Another way of looking at it is that a motor receives power from an external source, and then converts it into mechanical energy, while an engine creates power from pressure.

Devices converting heat energy into motion are commonly referred to simply as engines.



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