?Give Me the Facts About Diesel Engines!
Have you opened the hood of your used dump truck and checked to see how things work? Inside the hood, you would see a potentially confusing stack of metal, tubes and wires – this ‘thing’ is called a diesel engine. What exactly is this type of engine; who invented it? What are its parts? These are just a few of the questions about the differences between regular and diesel engines which we will try to explain in simple terms in the following paragraphs.
This machine was invented by Rudolf Diesel in 1878 while he was still attending a Polytechnic High School of Germany, which is equivalent to an engineering college. He was bothered when he learned about the low efficiency of the gasoline and the steam engines. As a result, he devoted himself to the development of this new machine with greater efficiency that he called the “”combustion power engine.”” In 1892, he obtained the patent to his work and a new discovery was born.
The Four Stroke Combustion Cycle
The diesel engine uses the same four-stroke combustion cycle as the gasoline one. The four strokes are:
Intake stroke- The air intake valve opens up which allows the air to enter which in turn moves the piston down.
Compression stroke – The piston now moves back up which in turn compress the air.
Combustion stroke – As the piston reaches the top of the stroke, the fuel is injected and ignited at the precise time needed which forces the piston back down.
Exhaust stroke – The piston now moves back up to the top and pushes the exhaust created as a result of the combustion out through the exhaust valve.
Gasoline vs. Diesel Differences
Both types of machines work similarly as they process the fuel and turn it into energy by means of small explosions more commonly known as combustion. The way that the combustion occurs is the difference between the two. The gasoline version mixes air with fuel and then ignites that mixture by a spark plug; the diesel version injects fuel into compressed air that has become heated during compression and the fuel ignites itself.
Since gasoline engines are more advanced in development, it has become the first choice for most cars. Vehicles with diesel engines have unfortunately acquired negative images due to their reputation of being smelly, dirty, noisy, difficult to start in cold weather and sluggish to drive. Current efforts are now being directed to improve these engines to be cleaner and quieter and are more widely used, especially by the commercial trucking industry.
The earth naturally produces fossil fuels that we know as petroleum or crude oil. Crude oil is removed from miles below the earth, brought to refineries, and processed into different kinds of fuels such as gasoline, kerosene and diesel. Petroleum diesel is produced from the fractional distillation of crude oil and its mass primarily consists of saturated hydrocarbons.
Diesel fuel offers better fuel economy and with its higher density, a machine powered this way actually emits less greenhouse gas than a comparable gasoline machine. This fuel has a greater viscosity than gasoline, which means that more effort is required to maintain its ability to flow easily. On the other hand, the greater viscosity also means that it will evaporate more slowly than gasoline fuel.
Diesel fuel requires less of a refining process and costs less to produce. Unfortunately, since demand has increased world-wide, the price of this fuel is responsive to the supply and demand cycle which is causing the fuel price to rise.
Diesel fuel is susceptible to contamination from water and from various types of sediment. As a result, it is very important to change the fuel filter more often than required with gasoline versions. This fuel is also more susceptible to the effects of cold weather, as it can actually turn to a jelly-like substance if viscosity is not low enough. Either way, the diesel versions can be harder to start during the winter months than gasoline-powered versions.
Passenger Car Equipping Outlook
Passenger cars equipped with diesel engines have been slow to be accepted in the United States. In Europe, the market has been more responsive to and a much higher percentage of cars being driven have these machines. Recent years have brought an improvement in the U.S. market, primarily due to all the efforts to produce a cleaner, quieter engine. The future definitely looks more promising for diesel technology than ever before. Let’s hope this changeover can occur in the very near future!