Pison Engines

Air or fuel-air mixture is forced into the cylinders by natural atmospheric pressure upon opening of the inlet valve or valves. The pressure within the cylinder is lowered by the action of the piston moving away from the valves (so as to expand the volume available for incoming air).

In some cases the lowering of the cylinder pressure is enhanced by a combination of the speed of the exhaust gases leaving the cylinder and the closing of the exhaust valve at the appropriate time. A tuned exhaust can help with this but generally only works at a narrow range of engine speeds and hence is most useful in very high performance cars, aircraft and helicopters.

Many NA engines today make use of Variable Length Intake Manifolds to harness Helmholtz resonance, which has a mild forced induction effect but is not considered true forced induction. Cylinder head porting design is of premium importance in naturally aspirated engines. Camshafts usually will be more "aggressive", having greater lift and duration. Also, cylinder head gaskets will be thinner, and with the top of the piston rising up into the combustion chamber, for high-performance NA engines that benefit from higher compression.