Diesel Engine

The diesel engine was first patented in 1892 by Rudolph Diesel.8

The diesel is similar to the four stroke, but uses a different method to ignite the fuel.

Diesel intake stroke


The intake valve opens, and fresh air (containing no fuel), is drawn into the cylinder.

Diesel compression stroke


As the piston rises, the air is compressed, causing its temperature to rise. At the end of the compression stroke, the air is hot enough to ignite fuel.

Diesel injection step


Near the top of the compression stroke, the fuel injector drives fuel into the cylinder. The fuel immediately ignites upon contact with the hot compressed air.

Diesel power stroke


As the fuel burns, the gas in the cylinder heats and expands, driving the piston.

Diesel exhaust stroke


The exhaust valve opens, and the exhaust is driven out of the cylinder.

Diesel cam belt

Valve detail

The valves are operated by a variety of mechanisms on diesel and four stroke engines. The engine illustrated here features dual overhead camshafts, sometimes abbreviated DOHC. These are usually driven by a chain or cog belt as shown here.

With his first practical engine in 1897, “Diesel proved to the world that his was the most efficient engine ever built.”8 Diesels are still among the most energy efficient engines available. They are widely used in large trucks, boats, earthmoving machinery, etc.