Diesel engine

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A diesel engine (also known as a compression-ignition engine and sometimes capitalized as Diesel engine) is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber during the final stage of compression. This is in contrast to spark-ignition engines such as a petrol engine (gasoline engine) or gas engine (using a gaseous fuel as opposed to gasoline), which uses a spark plug to ignite an air-fuel mixture. The diesel engine is modeled on the Diesel cycle. The engine and thermodynamic cycle were both developed by Rudolf Diesel in 1897.

The diesel engine has the highest thermal efficiency of any regular internal or external combustion engine due to its very high compression ratio. Low-speed diesel engines (as used in ships and other applications where overall engine weight is relatively unimportant) often have a thermal efficiency which exceeds 50 percent.[1][2][3][4]

Diesel engines are manufactured in two stroke and four stroke versions. They were originally used as a more efficient replacement for stationary steam engines. Since the 1910s they have been used in submarines and ships. Use in locomotives, large trucks and electric generating plants followed later. In the 1930s, they slowly began to be used in a few automobiles. Since the 1970s, the use of diesel engines in larger on-road and off-road vehicles in the USA increased. As of 2007, about 50 percent of all new car sales in Europe are diesel.[5]

The world's largest diesel engine is currently a Wärtsilä marine diesel of about 80 MW output.[6]


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