Diesel engine development: From pump to locomotive

Diesel engine development
The diesel engine was officially created in the late 19th century, only in the second half of the twentieth was perfected to find significant use in the automotive industry, and today is the backbone of sales of new vehicles.
The creator of the diesel engine is officially considered the German inventor and industrialist Rudolf Diesel, by which this, today unavoidable, type of engine is named. Diesel was a mechanical engineer by profession. Immediately after graduation, he got a job as an engineer to develop refrigeration, but internal combustion engines have always been his primary interest. At that time, all internal combustion engines were operating with assistance candles which burned a mixture of fuel and air. In 1892, Rudolf Diesel succeeded in protecting the patent of an internal combustion engine that educates a fuel mixture on auto-ignition.
Diesel engine development

The first prototype was far from what is nowadays considered to be a modern diesel engine. The patent is protected by a brief description of a device according to which a new type of engine is explained as an internal combustion engine in which the piston by compression raises the air temperature to a level that allows the injected fuel to start independently and release energy. Although the first prototype, built by Rudolf Diesel only in 1897, did not resemble a modern diesel engine at all, its operating principle was identical to the principle by which the state-of-the-art "common rail" unit works, and in this way it was proved in a practical way that ignition of the fuel mixture is not a necessary spark.Diesel engine development

Up to that point, the main source of propulsion and the driver of the industrial revolution in general were steam engines, which were widely used in rail and water transport. The diesel engine had one major advantage. The first thermodynamic calculations as well as practical tests showed that, in theory, a self-ignition engine has the potential to use up to 75 percent of total fuel energy, while steam engines at their technical peak managed to use only 10 percent of the thermal power of the fuel. This was a clear sign not only for the creator of the diesel engine itself, but also for numerous companies and investors who wanted to invest in the development of new technology.

Diesel engine development

Initially, diesel engines were used mainly for the needs of industry, water transport and heavy machinery. Their application in the "civil sector" and in the automotive industry was not widespread. Certainly, the main reason was the rough and uneven operation of the diesel engine, which as such was unsuitable for installation in a car, while its virtues such as economy and durability were indispensable in the freight program and industry. However, the potential of diesel technology did not go unnoticed, so in 1936, Mercedes introduced the model "260 D", the first production car in the world equipped with a diesel engine.

Diesel engine development

The four-cylinder, two-and-a-half-liter engine was powered by Bosch's injection system, which released 45 horsepower, which was enough to drive a car weighing 1.530 kilograms to a maximum speed of 95 kilometers per hour. By 1940, 2.000 copies had been produced, when the manufacturer completely turned to production for the needs of the military. The diesel engine has been refined numerous times over the coming decades, but for the first major shift when it comes to the automotive industry it is again worth it Mercedes, in 1977, when it introduced the first car powered by a turbo diesel engine, the "300 SD" model.

Diesel engine development

Under the hood was a three-cylinder five-cylinder that, with the help of a turbocharger, released 112 horsepower. The use of the turbine also improved the torque, making the "300 SD" one of the first cars with a diesel engine that did not lag behind the gasoline in performance. Already in 1986, electronics became involved in the management of diesel engines when BMW introduced the model “524 td”. This, in a way, marked the entry of the diesel engine into a new era, although no one was aware of it at that moment. That same year is the second turning point in the development of automotive diesel engines - Fiat equipment to Crom the first diesel engine to inject fuel directly into the cylinder.

Until then, this solution had been avoided because such engines were noisier and produced more vibration, but the Italian manufacturer was able to adapt the concept to the needs of a passenger car. It was a four-cylinder of 1.900 cubic meters, which released 92 horsepower. The promotion of the Fiat model was followed by an avalanche of direct-injection engines, led by Volkswagen TDIs. However, the next milestone in the development of the modern diesel engine has once again come from the Fiat Group.

In 1997, Alfa Romeo introduced the "156" with the first diesel engine equipped with "Common Rail" high-pressure injection. Today, this type of engine is standard in all classes, regardless of price and power. The introduction of the "Common Rail" has completely transformed diesel engines. Noise and vibration are drastically reduced, power is increased, while power consumption is down. All of this had the consequence that diesel engines, although more expensive than gasoline, have a growing primacy, perhaps best illustrated by the fact that in 2004, oil-powered cars reached 50 percent of Europe's total sales.


1892 Rudolf Diesel creates a diesel engine and succeeds in patent protection
1897 Rudolf Diesel constructs the first functional prototype of a self-ignition engine
1899 The license for the production of diesel engines is purchased by Krups and Sulzer, who then became the largest manufacturers
1903. Made the first ship powered by a diesel engine, intended for river use
1904 The first diesel-powered submarine is built in France
1910 The Norwegians create the first diesel-powered ship designed for ocean traffic
1912. First diesel locomotive
1914 A diesel engine is installed in all German U-Boot submarines
1923 Testing of the first diesel truck by MAN and Daimler
1932 MAN produces the most powerful truck with a diesel engine, which has 150 horsepower
1934 Maybach constructs the first turbo-diesel locomotive
1936 Mercedes produces the first diesel car, model "260 D"
1968 Peugeot introduces the "204", the first small city car with a transversely mounted diesel engine
1977 First car with turbo-diesel engine, “Mercedes 300 SD”
1986 BMW introduces electronics through the "524 td" model, the same year Fiat in Croma it introduces the first automotive direct injection diesel engine
1997 Alfa Romeo in the "156" is the first common rail engine
2004. In Western Europe, sales of diesel cars exceed 50 percent

D.Jojić / TopSpeed

Retrieved from: topspeed.telegraf.rs

Leave a reply