Most cars on the road use gasoline engines that work by causing a small explosion from the mixture of fuel and air. A diesel engine works a little differently – fuel is sprayed into combustion chambers as pressurized air heats and ignites the fuel. Read on for more detailed information about how diesel engines keep vehicles on the road.
When you enter your key into the ignition and give it a turn, you’re starting an internal multi-step process. Pressurized fuel from the tank is injected into the engine’s cylinders. The height of the pressure causes the air to heat up in the cylinders. In moderate weather, that normally takes about 1.5 seconds. To aid in the process, some manufactures started installing glow plugs to preheat the combustion chamber. As technology has continued to advance, more sophisticated fuel management techniques and higher injection pressures generate enough heat on their own, without the need for the glow plugs.
The fuel pump is the piece of equipment that delivers the fuel from the tank to the diesel engine. While the fuel is on its way, it passes through filters that clean it before it gets to the engine. This is an important step because dirty fuel can clog the tiny holes inside the injector nozzles. It’s also equally as important that those filters be maintained and changed regularly to ensure that they are properly cleaning the fuel.
The delivery tube, otherwise known as the rail, keeps the fuel under the constant pressure of 23,5000 pounds per square inch or higher. This is a large contrast to gasoline, which is just between 10 to 15 pounds per square inch. The fuel comes through the rail as a fine spray into the combustion chambers.
Fuel, Air, and Fire
As the fuel is travelling through the engine, an air cleaner is simultaneously pushing air into the cylinders. Some more modern versions use greater volumes of air, which produces more power. The combination of air and fuel causes the combustion that powers the engine.
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