How Do Diesel Engines Work?

Diesel engines are often associated with large trucks that emit thick, black smoke. These days, that image is changing as the diesel engine becomes cleaner and less noisy. The diesel engine is becoming a distinct choice when it comes to cars. Here’s what you should know about the diesel engine, how it works, and its pros and cons:

How the Diesel Engine Works

Like the gasoline engine, the diesel engine is an internal combustion engine. It is designed to convert the chemical energy into mechanical energy. The mechanical energy is what moves the pistons inside the cylinder. The pistons are connected to the crankshaft. The up and down motion of the pistons creates the rotary motion needed to make the wheels of a car turn. This is called linear motion.

A diesel engine also converts fuel to energy through a series of small explosions. The way these explosions happen in a diesel engine is different though. In a diesel engine the air is compressed before the fuel is injected. Air heats up when it is compressed and the fuel is ignited.

The diesel engine uses a four-stroke cycle, which include: intake stroke, compression stroke, combustion stroke, and the exhaust stroke. The intake stroke is when the intake valves open, which allows the pistons to move up and down. The compression stroke is when the piston moves up and compresses the air. The combustion stroke occurs when the piston is at the top and the fuel is injected and ignited, which forces the piston down. The exhaust stroke moves the piston back to the top, pushing the exhaust created out of the exhaust valve. The diesel engine does not contain a spark plug.

About Diesel Fuel Injection

The injection process is different in a diesel engine than in a gasoline engine. Diesel engines use direct fuel injection where the diesel is injected directly into the cylinder. The injector is the most complex part of this engine. It must be able to withstand the pressure and temperature inside the cylinder while still creating a fine mist from the fuel.

In order to spread the mist around special induction valves and pre-combustion chambers are also needed. Some diesel engines also contain a glow plug, which is an electrically heated wire that heats the combustion chambers and raises the air temperature so that during the cold weather the engine can start.

Pros and Cons of a Diesel Engine

One major benefit of a diesel engine is that is lasts longer than a gasoline engine. The downside is the cost of repairing a diesel engine can be costly. In general, a diesel engine can last up to 30 years. Another con is that a diesel engine won’t easily start in freezing winter weather. You will find fuel economy better with a diesel engine. The fuel economy of a diesel engine is quite superior, so if you’re looking to save money in the long run, it’s a good choice.

Diesel engines are becoming a more used option when it comes to cars. There are a number of benefits to diesel engines.