All about Diesel Engines

Diesel engines serve as the source of power for huge machines like trucks, trains, ships, submarines, and more. On the surface, they are highly similar to the more common gasoline engines. Despite this, they operate in a slightly different way, generate more power, and do so more efficiently. This blog will explain diesel engines, how they differ from gasoline engines, what makes them more efficient, and their other advantages.

Like gasoline engines, diesel engines are a  type of internal combustion engine. In an internal combustion engine, fuel is burned within the cylinders, a main part of the engine, producing power. This differs from external combustion engines and steam engines wherein the fuel is burned outside the cylinders. Internal combustion engines waste less energy because the heat doesn’t have to flow from its source into the cylinders. Instead, everything happens in the same place. Despite the many similarities diesel and gasoline engines share, they operate in different ways. In a gasoline engine, fuel and air are injected into small metal cylinders where the pistons compress the mixture. After this, a small electric spark sets fire to it, causing the mixture to explode and generating the power to push the pistons bearing down the cylinders and power the wheels. Diesel engines do this too, but in a more simple way.

Air enters the cylinder where the piston compresses it. However, diesel engines compress air much more than gasoline engines. In gasoline engines, the fuel-air mixture is compressed to about 1/10 its original volume. In diesel engines, it is compressed to up to 1/25 its original volume. Once the air is compressed, fuel is sprayed into the cylinder by an electronic fuel-injection system. Because the highly compressed air is so hot, it ignites immediately upon coming into contact with the fuel, without the need for a spark. This explosion causes the piston to push back out of the cylinder bearing, producing the power that drives the machine in which the engine is mounted. When the piston bearing returns to the cylinder, the exhaust gases are forced out through an exhaust valve and the process begins again.

As stated, diesel engines are more efficient than gasoline engines. In fact, they can be up to twice as efficient. One reason for this is that they compress air more and operate at higher temperatures. The efficiency of an engine can be directly linked to the range of temperatures in which it operates. Because diesel engines cycle through a larger temperature range than gasoline engines, they are more efficient. Second, the lack of a need for a spark plug ignition system allows for a simpler design that can easily compress the air that much more. Third, when operating at low power, a gasoline engine needs more fuel to keep the cylinders moving. Diesel engines do not have this problem, meaning they use less fuel at low power. Lastly, diesel fuel is a better lubricant than gasoline, so a diesel engine runs with less friction.

In addition to the aforementioned, there are many distinct advantages to using diesel engines. They are simple, efficient, and economical. Furthermore, they are safe, because diesel fuel is less volatile than gasoline and its vapors are less explosive. Diesel is highly advantageous when being used to move large loads at low speeds, making it ideal for use in freight ships, trucks, buses, trains, and similar machines. Also, because diesel engines have higher compression, they must withstand greater stresses. As such, diesel engines are stronger and heavier. This added weight may seem like a disadvantage, but it also means that diesel engines are usually tougher and last much longer than gasoline engines.

For diesel engine parts and much more, ASAP Aviation Stock is the ultimate source. We are owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, a trusted supplier of parts pertaining to the aerospace, defense, civil aviation, marine, electronics, and IT hardware markets. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, call us at 1-763-401-8616 or email us at


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