How Do Diesel Engines Work Step By Step?

The diesel engine is also known as compression ignition. The reason: In contrast to the regular engine, no fuel-air mixture is injected in the diesel ones. Instead, pure air is sucked in, which is compressed so much in the combustion chamber that it heats up to 700 degrees. The diesel fuel then injected ignites by itself in the hot air. Hence the term self-igniter. The diesel therefore does not need spark plugs. There is a glow plug in the combustion chamber, which ensures the necessary temperature during a cold start. In the past, diesel drivers had to pause for a minute’s silence to preheat. Thanks to new fast glow plugs, the procedure now only takes a few seconds, even in cold temperatures. In some engines, the glow plug stays on for some time after the engine is started, for smoother combustion.

Table of Contents

Compress Air

Intake and exhaust valves are closed, the piston moves up and compresses the trapped air.

Diesel Engines Work Step By Step
Diesel Engines Work Step By Step

Stroke and Ignition

The injected fuel explodes immediately. The gas heats up enormously and expands. This force pushes the piston down while the exhaust valve opens. 350 degrees are enough to ignite the finely diesel.

Expel Exhaust Gases

The piston moves up and pushes the exhaust gases out of the combustion chamber through the open exhaust valve. The bar order starts from the beginning. The degree of efficiency is decisive for the consumption of a diesel. This is understood as the ratio of the motor energy removed to the supplied by the fuel. This chemical of the fuel appears elsewhere after combustion: friction, exhaust gases and cooling. Due to the high combustion, the diesel motor is more efficient than a regular one. Nevertheless, the self-igniter only uses about 45 % of the energy paid for when filling up. Around more than the half percent is lost as heat, which is released into the environment.

Once a diesel engine has been started, combustion in the cylinders takes place immediately: the heat required to ignite the fuel is generated by compressing the air in the cylinder. To start the diesel motor, however, the procedure of compressing the air must first be started. This is done by a small motor starter. It starts the up and down movement of the pistons in the cylinders. However, the engine still cold right after starting, the movement of the pistons slower than when warmed.


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