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How Does a Diesel Engine Work?


How Does a Diesel Engine Work?

The distinction lies in the type of ignition. While gasoline engines operate on spark ignition, diesel engines employ compression - ignition for igniting the fuel. In the latter, air is drawn into the engine and subjected to high compression that heats it up. This results in a very high temperature in the engine, much higher than the temperature attained in a gasoline engine.

At peak temperature and pressure, diesel that is let into the engine ignites on account of the extreme temperature.In a diesel engine, air and fuel are infused into the engine at different stages, as opposed to a gas engine where a mixture of air and gas are introduced. Fuel is injected into the diesel engine using an injector whereas, in a gasoline engine, a carburetor is used for this purpose.

In a gasoline engine, fuel and air are sent into the engine together and then compressed. The air and fuel mixture limits fuel compression and hence the overall efficiency. A diesel engine compresses only air and the ratio can be much higher. A diesel engine compresses at the ratio of 14:1 up to 25:1, whereas in a gasoline engine the compression ratio is between 8:1 and 12:1.

After combustion, the combustion by-products are removed from the engine through the exhaust. For starting during cold months extra heat is provided through 'glow plugs'. Diesel engines can either be two cycles or four cycles and are chosen depending on the mode of operation. Air-cooled and liquid-cooled engines are the variants to be chosen appropriately. Liquid-cooled engines provide far better engine life, performance, and quieter operation.

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