Updated: Apr 7
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you accidentally fill up your diesel vehicle with petrol? It will be quite the horror story but most people don't know what the difference is between diesel and petrol (gasoline). Basically, diesel is a lower-grade, less-refined product of petroleum made from heavier hydrocarbons (molecules built from more carbon and hydrogen atoms).
Diesel engines are the most versatile fuel-burning engines in today's world, and they are specifically ideal for moving heavy loads at low speeds. You will find them in most trucks and earthmoving equipment, but also in buses, locomotives and ships. Diesel engines are way more economical than petrol engines and because diesel engines are stronger and more robust they typically last a lot longer than petrol engines.
According to explainthatstuff.com, diesel engines are up to twice as efficient as gasoline engines - around 40 percent more efficient. One of the reasons is the lack of a sparking-plug ignition system. This makes for a simpler design that can easily compress the fuel much more - and compressing the fuel more makes it burn more completely with the air in the cylinder, releasing more energy.
How does a diesel engine turn fuel into power?
You get two different diesel engines: a two - stroke engine and a four - stroke engine. The processes are quite interesting to follow and they operate quite differently to one another.
The two -stroke engine consist out of three stages:
Firstly taking in fresh air and pushing the old air out through the valves at the top; secondly compression takes place and lastly power is sent to the wheels through the crankshaft.
The four - stroke engine has four stages and consist out of the following:
Firstly air is taken into the cylinder, secondly compression takes place by means of fuel injection, thirdly power is generated and the crankshaft send power to the wheels. Lastly the exhaust gasses are let out.
N.A. Otto designed the first four - stroke diesel engine in 1876. Here is a short video illustrating the operation of the Otto engine:
Although this engine goes way back, it is still the foundation of the diesel engines as we know it today. For any other questions, get in touch with the team at Blueprint Diesel, as they are highly specialised in this field.
In the meantime, keep those engines humming!