www.DieselNet.com. Copyright © Ecopoint Inc. Revision 2000.10
This is a preview of the paper, limited to some initial content. Full access requires DieselNet subscription.
Please log in to view the complete version of this paper.
In spite of gloomy predictions from extremist groups regarding the future of diesel engines, evidence seems to suggest that the diesel technology continues to score impressive gains. The diesel share of the market is growing, not only in Europe where diesels enjoy an excellent reputation, but also in the USA where diesels are much maligned. Recent reports from regulatory agencies in the USA, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indicate that in spite of very restrictive emission regulations, diesel sales are growing at the rate of 4% per year . In the next few years, sales are expected to further accelerate with much of the growth occurring in the light-duty market segment.
Rudolph Diesel, who is best known for his invention of the engine that bears his name, was born in France in 1858. In the 1890s, he received a number of patents for his invention of a highly efficient, slow burning, compression ignition, internal combustion engine (German Patent 86,633 of Mar 30, 1895; U.S. Patent 608,845 of Aug 9, 1898). His invention came while the steam engine was the predominant power source for large industries. The prototype of Dr. Diesel engine first ran on its own power on August 10, 1893 after 13 years of intensive development. Two years later, on the last day of 1896 Dr. Diesel demonstrated another model with a spectacular mechanical theoretical efficiency of 75.6% while the then popular steam engine had an anemic 10% mechanical efficiency .
Development of Diesel’s invention needed more time and work to become the commercial success that it was destined to be. Many engineers and developers joined in the work to improve the market viability of the idea created by Dr. Diesel. He, on the other hand, became somewhat threatened by this process and was not always able to find common language with other engine designers developing his invention. Diesel’s attempts of market promotion of the not-yet-ready engine had eventually led into a nervous breakdown. In 1913, deeply troubled by criticisms of his role in developing the engine, he mysteriously vanished from a ship on a voyage to England, presumably committing suicide .
Even in its infancy, Diesel’s invention had begun to sow the seeds of discord and envy among its rivals. The engine was clearly superior to other forms of energy transfer machines. It was certainly much more efficient than Watt’s steam engine and was a major threat to England’s coal industry. This sort of rivalry appears to still manifest itself today even though those who place themselves against Dr. Diesel’s concept may advocate other fuels, combustion cycles, and other energy transfer concepts.
Of all the internal-combustion engines known today, the diesel engine is the most efficient. This means that it extracts the greatest amount of energy from a specific amount of fuel . In this paper, reasons why the diesel engine is superior are highlighted. Differences between the diesel combustion concept and other concepts will be explained and analyzed. However, no matter what else is worth praise in the diesel engine, its fuel economy and its durability will always be the foundation of its strength.
The diesel engine is an embodiment of the internal combustion engine. It was invented in the late 19th century by Dr. R. Diesel for the purpose of efficiently producing mechanical power from the chemical energy stored in fuel. Diesel engines use the conventional cylinder and piston arrangement common to other internal combustion engines such as the gasoline engine. For the most part, there is very little difference between the diesel and gasoline engines.
Conceptually, diesels achieve their high performance and excellent fuel economy by compressing air to high pressures then injecting a small amount of fuel into this highly compressed air. Temperatures created when air is compressed cause the small amount of highly atomized injected fuel to evaporate. Mixing with the hot surrounding air in the combustion chamber, the evaporated fuel reaches its auto-ignition temperature and burns thus releasing the energy that is stored in that fuel .