Thursday, September 29, 2011

Have You Heard Of This Guy...?

This man's one invention changed the automotive world more than nearly anyone could ever imagine!

Hard to picture what the world would be without the Diesel engine. Not many things had as much impact on the world's industries as this engine and it's many applications!

Sept 29, 1913:

Inventor Rudolf Diesel vanishes

On this day in 1913, Rudolf Diesel, inventor of the engine that bears his name, disappears from the steamship Dresden while traveling from Antwerp, Belgium to Harwick, England. On October 10, a Belgian sailor aboard a North Sea steamer spotted a body floating in the water; upon further investigation, it turned out that the body was Diesel's. There was, and remains, a great deal of mystery surrounding his death: It was officially judged a suicide, but many people believed (and still believe) that Diesel was murdered.

Diesel patented a design for his engine on February 28, 1892,; the following year, he explained his design in a paper called "Theory and Construction of a Rational Heat Engine to Replace the Steam Engine and Contemporary Combustion Engine." He called his invention a "compression ignition engine" that could burn any fuel--later on, the prototypes he built would run on peanut or vegetable oil--and needed no ignition system: It ignited by introducing fuel into a cylinder full of air that had been compressed to an extremely high pressure and was, therefore, extremely hot.

Such an engine would be unprecedentedly efficient, Diesel argued: In contrast to the other steam engines of the era, which wasted more than 90 percent of their fuel energy, Diesel calculated that his could be as much as 75 percent efficient. (That is, just one-quarter of their energy would be wasted.) The most efficient engine that Diesel ever actually built had an efficiency of 26 percent--not quite 75 percent, but still much better than its peers.

By 1912, there were more than 70,000 diesel engines working around the world, mostly in factories and generators. Eventually, Diesel's engine would revolutionize the railroad industry; after World War II, trucks and buses also started using diesel-type engines that enabled them to carry heavy loads much more economically.

At the time of Diesel's death, he was on his way to England to attend the groundbreaking of a new diesel-engine plant--and to meet with the British navy about installing his engine on their submarines. Conspiracy theories began to fly almost immediately: "Inventor Thrown Into the Sea to Stop Sale of Patents to British Government," read one headline; another worried that Diesel was "Murdered by Agents from Big Oil Trusts." It is likely that Diesel did throw himself overboard--as it turns out, he was nearly broke--but the mystery will probably never be solved.

Now do you see the impact this engine had? Certainly easy to see why he might have had a LOT of enemies! Who knows what else he might have come up with if he had been around a little longer?

Fresh coffee on the patio sound OK this morning? You're more than welcome to pull up a chair!


Sixbears said...

I've read all about him and I also run my diesel truck on waste vegetable oil.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Diesel had studied the fire piston design and came up with this idea on his own. Regardless, he was the one who designed the engine. Pretty noisy but they certainly do have some advantages.

Some years back during Katrina aftermath, more than a few people mixed up their own bio diesel and saved a fortune. Can't do that with a gasoline engine.

Duke said...

I have heard some about him but not a lot. I like diesel engines and I drive a Dodge diesel. Very interesting.

Mechanic in Illinois said...

Whose's kidding whom, Diesel was murdered. Follow the money and you always find out what happened. Thanks for the story and have a great Thursday.

Ben in Texas said...

I had heard his name but not "The Rest of the Story". Wasn't he the same one that invented the fuel injection system ? Mainly so airplane engines could fly inverted?

HermitJim said...

Hey Sixbears...
I knew that you ran your vehicle on waste oil, and I think that's pretty cool!

Very practical, if you ask me.

Thanks for the visit today!

Hey Anon 7:18...
I guess we all learn to do what is necessary to survive and get by!

Thanks for the visit today!

Hey Duke...
I've been thinking about getting a diesel for my next vehicle. I don't mind the sound, and I like the looks of most!

Thanks for the visit.

Hey Mechanic...
I think you're right about that! Just a feeling!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Ben...
Your BOT is a diesel, right? How does it run compared to the gas motor for you?

Thanks, buddy, for coming over today!

HoboJoe said...

I learn something new everyday over here Jim. By the way, happy national coffee day. I only knew that because, just like you, they were giving out free coffee down at the coffee place this morning.

HermitJim said...

Hey Hobo...
Now, see? You taught me something I didn't know, but should have! I had no idea today was a Coffee Holiday!

Guess all of us are never too old to learn something new...and I certainly am glad you learn something new when you come by!

Your visits are greatly appreciated, my friend!