The diesel engine has a long history that is
intertwined closely with economic and other issues of the time. The
diesel engine was created by Rudolph Diesel. He conceptualized the
diesel engine and thought up the principle of its operation. He thought
up the concept of the engine that compresses air to the degree where
there is a resulting rise in temperature.
The concept followed the principle where when the air enters the
chamber with the piston the air ignited due to the high temperatures.
This causes the piston to move down and eliminates the need for an
ignition source. When Diesel designed his engine it was in a time when
there was a demand for a more fuel efficient engine as the steam engine
was no where close to efficient.
It was on February 27th, 1892 that Diesel filed a patent in the patent
office in Germany for his method and design for the combustion engine.
He sourced contracts from companies that manufactured machines and
began his experimentation stage. During this stage he constructed
working models of his design in an attempt to construct the most
efficient engine of that time.
It was in the year 1893 that he was successful in putting out the first
model that was able to run with its own power and with an efficiency of
approximately 26%. This was more than double the efficiency of the
steam engines of that time and was a great stride for the efficient
engine and a great start to the engines of today.
It was in February of 1897 that he accomplished a great achievement
and produced a diesel engine that ran at 75% efficiency. This was the
first one of its kind that was deemed suitable for practical use and
was demonstrated at the Exhibition fair in France in the year 1898.
This engine in particular was run on peanut oil and in Diesel’s vision
was great for the small business owners as well as farmers as it used
an economical fuel source that was a biomass fuel. It was his use of a
biomass fuel that continued until the 1920’s and is starting again
In the past the diesel engine was not considered to be small enough for
anything but use that was stationary in nature as they were very heavy
and cumbersome. Common uses were on ships and industrial uses. Rudolph
Diesel disappeared in 1913 and it was not certain whether he died a
natural or unnatural death. Many thought his death was related to the
politics of the time and the vast knowledge he possessed and was
willing to share with enemies of the German government of the time.
In the 1920’s the engine was redesigned into a smaller and more compact
version. This allowed it to be used for a wider range of applications
and even in the automobile industry. The development of the diesel
engine continued and it was made better and better by other inventors
such as Clessie L. Cummins who worked out many of the bugs of the
diesel engine such as those concerning size and weight as well as the
instability of the fuel system.
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