Rudolf Diesel (1878) invented an engine . He invented it to solve the problem of engine inefficiencies that the existing engines had. Prior to then, all vehicle engines used only about 10% of the fuel to move the vehicle. The rest was wasteful heat. By 1892, he patented it for what we now call the diesel engine .
People knew the diesel engine to be notoriously sooty, dirty, and noisy. But just as every other technology developed, the diesel engine also did. In the 21st century, the diesel engine has grown to be cleaner, quieter, and even more efficient.
This article would show you how the Diesel engine works and would answer some questions you have about Diesel engines.
How Does the Diesel Engine Work?
If you are not a science person, don’t be scared to read this session. It’s broken down to the very basics. I would guide you through.
Just as other internal combustion engines, Diesel engines convert chemical energy (from diesel) to mechanical energy. They are the most versatile and economical engines in our world today. It has been serving humanity for more than a century now.
The slider-crank mechanism
The slider-crack transfers the linear motion of the piston to the rotational motion of the crank. You can see the piston moving up and down in the cylinder. And the crank moves rotationally. The rotary movement moves the wheels of your car.
The chemical energy of the diesel is converted to mechanical energy through a four-stroke combustion cycle:
The piston starts at the top of the cylinder. As it goes downward, it creates a suction pressure in the cylinder. The inlet valve opens, allowing fresh air to be sucked in. It’s like breathing in.
This stroke begins with the piston at the bottom of the cylinder. During this return stroke, the inlet valve closes. The air in the cylinder gets compressed.
The fuel injector injects an atomized form of diesel into the cylinder. This causes an explosion that pushes the piston to the bottom of the cylinder. It’s in this stroke that the engine converts the chemical energy of the fluid to mechanical energy.
The force at which the piston goes downward creates an upward movement. This pushes out the exhaust created from the combustion through the exhaust valve.
This repeated process keeps your diesel burning and your engine rolling.
Diesel Engine vs Gasoline Engine: Similarities and Differences
Theoretically, the diesel engine and the gasoline engine are very similar. And works in a resembling pattern.
Here are the similarities in design
- They are both internal combustion engines.
- They both convert chemical energy available in the fuel to mechanical energy.
- They both use this mechanical energy to move a piston to and fro inside a cylinder. And it’s converted to rotary motion needed to turn your car wheels.
- They both require the slider crank to function.
Differences in design
In gasoline engines, a spark from the spark plug triggers the combustion. But in Diesel engines, there are no spark plugs. The direct injection of diesel triggers the combustion into the hot air. The heat of the air initiates the combustion of the diesel to start.
Diesel vs Gasoline Engine: Which is Best for You?
Are you contemplating the best engine that would just be right for you? Worry no more. I’ve got your solution in this piece. Your choice of the engine should depend on some factors. I would list those likely factors here and say a little about them. So, you can make a wise decision after all.
1. Fuel efficiency
During the stage of the compression stroke, higher compression leads to better efficiency, more power released, and less fuel used. Because, when the air molecules are closely packed in the cylinder, fuel has a better chance of reacting with as many oxygen molecules as possible. Diesel engines have a compression ratio of 14:1 to 25:1. As compared to gasoline engines, which have a ratio of 8:1 to 12:1.
2. Emission control
If you are environmentally friendly, then this is for you. Modern diesel engines, when compared to gasoline engines, now emit less carbon dioxide into the environment. This helps in keeping the environment clean and safe. Diesel engines do this because they burn less fuel than gasoline engines.
3. Heavy loads
Torque is a force that causes rotation. Just as explained earlier, Diesel engines have more compression ratio. This produces higher torque than gasoline engines.
The more torque an engine has, the more work it can do. This makes the Diesel engine suitable for hauling more loads, whilst consuming less fuel. This is the reason most trailers and trucks use diesel.
4. Longer service interval
Diesel engines are designed to run at a lower speed as compared to gasoline engines. This reduces the threat of wear and tear. Also, the components of the engine are thicker. This is because of the high pressure it always has to withstand. This makes them durable and more resistant to failure.
5. Diesel cars undergo less depreciation
Diesel cars don’t just slowly wear off, they also lose lesser value over the year when compared to the gasoline engine. This is because second-hand diesel cars are usually in demand by Indians. This keeps the price high, even in second-hand states.
Also, diesel is light oil. This means the diesel is capable of lubricating the combustion chamber when you use it. This reduces the chances of wearing and tearing, which means less service is required.
If diesel engines are more efficient, why do most cars have gasoline engines? Europeans have opened their arms to Diesel engine technology. But most drivers in the USA have nodded their heads away from it. Probably, it could be for the reasons below.
- Diesel engines are more expensive than gasoline
- They are noisier and tend to vibrate.
- Diesel fuel is less readily available than gasoline
- Diesel engines have costlier parts, making the replacement of parts expensive.
- They are harder to start in cold weather.
If it were up to us, more people will use diesel-powered vehicles. But that’s not the case. Probably because gasoline has been the trend for centuries. The diesel engine is an outstanding technology and you should try it.
For Arizonans, your diesel engines are in completely safe hands. Phoenix diesel repair fix and service light and medium diesel trucks, as well as diesel cars. If your engine gets faulty, rest assured we can restore it. Reach out to us.