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Old February 23rd, 2008, 03:51   #1
TDIMeister
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Default Anniversary of Rudolf Diesel's Patent

In case you are not aware, February 23rd marks the anniversary of Rudolf Diesel's patent for a "Arbeitsverfahren und Ausführungsart für Verbrennungskraftmaschinen" (Working process and realization method for combustion engines). The patent was issued on this date in 1893, marking this year the 115th anniversary.




Much of Diesel's original design in the patent can be easily identified and compared to modern engines bearing his name 115 years later. This included high-pressure direct injection of fuel into the combustion chamber and use of a specially-shaped piston bowl.

Diesel's patent was not without disputes of prior art, however. Herbert Akroyd Stuart of the UK had taken out patents as much as two years earlier for "Improvements in Engines Operated by the Explosion of Mixtures of Combustible Vapour or Gas and Air", but Akroyd's design specified an engine that would induct a pre-mixed air- and vapourized-oil mixture into the engine, and combustion initiated by a hot-bulb in the combustion chamber, essentially the same thing as a present-day glow-plug. This can be easily and decisively contrasted to Diesel's proposal for an engine that would induct only air, with fuel injected at the time of combustion, and ignition solely by the heat of the highly-compressed air.



Historians attibute Diesel's early inspiration to Sadi Carnot of France, who in 1824, at the age of only 28, wrote a treatise entitled, "Réflexions sur la puissance motrice du feu" (Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire). At a time when the knowledge of thermodynamics was still very much incomplete and at its infancy, and the First Law of Thermodynamics still not yet formally formulated, he proposed a thermodynamic working process that would result in the highest attainable thermal efficiency between the highest- and lowest temperatures in the cycle.

Diesel at first tried to make a practical realization of the Carnot engine, although it was only a theoretical possibility. Having failed in this early attempt for heat addition at constant temperature as the Carnot cycle prescribed, Diesel was believed to have been inspired by a demostration device at the Munich Technical University where he studied. In this device, a glass cylindrical tube had a moving piston, and the contents of the chamber could be sealed, resembling a modern-day bicycle tire pump. When a piece of paper was inserted into the cylinder and the piston rapidly pushed inwards, the paper would spontaneously combust from the heat generated from compression of the air trapped in the chamber.



Upon completing his studies at Munich Technical University with the highest grades ever awarded, he worked briefly at the Linde refrigeration company, founded by his professor in Munich, but it wasn't until he later went to the Maschinenfabrik Augsburg (present-day M.A.N.) did the engine that later bore his name come to fruition.

During a trip Diesel took in September 1913 to cross the English Channel from Antwerp, Belgium to Harwich, England, Diesel went missing. Although many theories have been brought forward, the circumstances of his death have never been authoritatively ascertained.

The Diesel Patent Engine is exhibited in the Deutsches Museum in Munich.

Thank you, Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel, 1858-1913.
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 06:27   #2
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Wow! A great article 'Meister!

Happy Birthday Arbeitsverfahren und Ausführungsart für Verbrennungskraftmaschinen.

Trying puttibg that to song!
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 14:25   #3
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Great article! It's a facinating history of the "other" internal combustion engine.
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Old February 24th, 2008, 06:24   #4
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Indeed. And with enough pressure on the manufacturers, the oil companies, and a little good ol' dumb luck, Mr. Diesel's amazing invention will allow us to keep the motive power Algore so hates, reduce our thirst for crude by a third at least, produce a biofuel that won't suck up all the corn on earth, save the energy it takes to crack crude all the way to gasoline, reduce the level of pollutants at the tailpipe- in short, for America & other gasoline-addicted countries to finally have their cake & eat it, too.
Hear that, Ford? GM & Chrysler? Hear that, Exxon & BP? There IS a solution, and like all truly good ones it's right under yer nose & always has been.
Thanks for the post, TDIMeister- a great reminder of a true historical giant, and father of the machine that may well save our way of life. Hope I live to see it...
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Old February 24th, 2008, 08:31   #5
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Ackroyd Stuart had not only patented the injection of liquid fuel into a compressed charge, by 1890, but he put the engine into production shortly after. "Nevertheless it was his patent (No 7164) of 1890 which described the principles of compressing the charge air in the cylinder before the introduction of fuel, and timed injection of a liquid fuel by means of a pump (i.e. solid injection). Diesel's patent (No 7241) was registered two years later and the engine it described relied on the heat generated during compression to ignite a fuel of coal dust introduced into the combustion chamber using compressed air (air-blast injection). Source: http://www.nelmes.fsnet.co.uk/paxman/pax-hfoe.htm By the time Diesel got his first coal dust engine prototype running, and exploding BTW, Akroyd Stuart and Ruston, Hornsby had made many oil fuelled compression ignition engines in commercial use. A little more on the chronology: http://www.carengine.eu/herbert_akroyd_stuart_en.html
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Old February 24th, 2008, 09:18   #6
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New Rule: from here on out, all compression-ignition engines are to be refered to as "Stuarts", & all fuels for use in these engines, whether derived from crude oil or biomass, are to be called "Stuart fuel".
Learn it, love it, live it. Or else.
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Old February 25th, 2008, 15:26   #7
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Default Lauster

Several years ago I was reading some geneological info someone in my family put together and was happy to see that one of my ancestors was a man with the last name of Lauster. This man was credited (in the write up I read) with being a significant help to Diesel in gettting the technology commercialized.

Don't know if it is all true but made me feel pretty good!!
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Old February 25th, 2008, 15:45   #8
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Some really good historical coverage of the inventors and their engines leading up to- and including Rudolf Diesel can be found in Internal Fire: The Internal Combustion Engine 1673-1900 (2000), The Diesel Oddysey of Clessie Cummins (1998) and Diesel's Engine (1993), all written by C. Lyle Cummins (son of Clessie Cummins, founder of Cummins Corp.) and published by Carnot Press.
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Old February 26th, 2008, 12:49   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bayou_Flyer
Happy Birthday Arbeitsverfahren und Ausführungsart für Verbrennungskraftmaschinen.

Trying putting that to song!
Better yet, try saying it three times real fast after six beers!
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Old February 28th, 2008, 21:43   #10
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Thumbs up happy anniversary rudolph

Thanks, Rudolph! We 'preciate ya!!

J
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Old March 16th, 2008, 07:46   #11
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Interestingly, March 18th 2008 will be the Rudolf' Diesel's 150th birthday, being born on that date in Paris in 1858.

This article gives a very good and concise history from Dr. Diesel's birth to death, and covers much of the history in the first post above:
http://www.dieselgasturbine.com/pdf/rudolf.pdf

Quote:
The city of Augsburg, Germany, and MAN
Diesel SE have declared 2008 “Augsburg
Diesel Year” and have established a web-
site, www.diesel-2008.de/diesel/, highlight-
ing the special events and history of the
man the city and company proudly call
“the inventor genius” Rudolf Diesel.
I'm planning to visit the Diesel Museum in Augsburg in May.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 08:11   #12
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The following is an unfinished manuscript of an essay I prepared in 2002 that was to be presented at TDIFest 2002 before I decided on a change of subject.

Enjoy.

Quote:
Diesel Engines and the TDI: Past, Present and Future.


Ever since the dawn of civilization, mankind has been driven by the need to control his environment and to support as well as facilitate his existence and productivity. To that end, the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century saw great progress in technology with the advent of steam power and later electricity. Sleepy, isolated towns burgeoned into sprawling industrial centers, raising the need for increased mobility if its citizens.
Centuries before, the idea of a self-propelled "horseless carriage" had been envisioned. This could only be realized with a portable propulsion system, and at that time, steam power was the only option, and early steam engines were hardly portable. Understanding of physical sciences was still in its infancy with pioneering work by Newton, Rankine, Kelvin and many others.

It took almost a century after the first self-propelled vehicle conceived by Cugnot in 1769, for a significant development in propulsion technology to realize a practical automobile: the internal combustion engine. Credit for devising the internal combustion engine actually went back long before, perhaps to the famed inventor, astronomer and scientist named Galileo, who proposed an "engine" that would harness the expansion work of a charge of burning gunpowder.

In the 1860s Frenchman Lenoir designed and sold an engine that developed power by first drawing a charge of gas and air during the first half of the downward piston stroke in the cycle, then igniting this charge during the second half. The cycle was complete when the piston ascended and discharged the burned gases into the atmosphere. Note that there was no compression stroke, and the efficiency of the Lenoir engine was at best five percent.

To address the shortcomings of bulk, low efficiency and unfavorable power-to-weight in an earlier engine design, a German engineer named Nicolas Otto devised an engine with four piston strokes: intake, compression, expansion and exhaust. It first ran in 1876, and it was an enormous improvement in compactness, efficiency, and weight over previous engines. Shortly thereafter, however, an earlier unpublished French patent surfaced, ascribed to Alphonse Beau de Rochas and dating back to 1862. The patent described very closely Otto's own proposal for the 4-stroke cycle engine, and went further to outline the conditions under which maximum efficiency in an engine could be achieved. These were:
1) The largest possible cylinder volume with the minimum boundary surface
2) The highest possible working speed
3) The greatest possible expansion ratio
4) The greatest possible pressure at the beginning of expansion.

A few years later, a young German engineer named Rudolf Diesel, while doing graduate studies at the Technical University in Munich, formulated his proposal for a heat engine. A biography of Diesel recounts the tale of the young engineer inspired at the concept of
"autoignition" or compression ignition when he saw a device at the University that looked something like a bicycle pump with a transparent cylinder. When a piece of paper was put inside this device, and the plunger piston rapidly and forcefully compressed the trapped air, the resulting heat caused the paper to spontaneously ignite. Initially, Diesel was interested to realize a working engine that operated on a cycle known after its pioneer, Sadi Carnot. The Carnot cycle has four processes: adiabatic compression, constant temperature heat addition, adiabatic expansion, and constant temperature heat rejection back to the initial state. The special feature of the Carnot cycle is that, between the upper and lower temperature boundaries in the cycle, NO other thermodynamic cycle can achieve higher energy conversion efficiency. It served as a theoretical ideal, and one in which Diesel wanted to realize in an engine. In practice however, adopting the Carnot cycle was practically impossible in a reciprocating engine, because of the requirement for absurdly high compression ratios and peak cycle pressures (as much as 146 000 bar) for realistic output levels.

Little deterred, however, Diesel proposed an internal combustion engine (which never ran), that followed the principle of maximizing the compression ratio, and burning a carefully metered amount of fuel into the combustion chamber at a rate that would come as close as possible to a constant temperature. The impossibility of achieving combustion at a constant temperature led Diesel to re-think his engine design. For he knew the thermodynamic principles already outlined by Beau de Rochas before him, that in order to achieve maximum efficiency, it required an engine with a maximum expansion ratio and maximum pressure at the beginning of the expansion stroke. He also realized at the same time, that maximum compression ratios and maximum cycle pressures were limited to the structural strength of the engine. He therefore proposed in his patent, a cycle with peak pressure established by the compression ratio, which could be 10:1, 20, 25, 50, 100 or more, as much as an engine could withstand, followed by admission of fuel by means of a pressurized air-assisted blast injection system and combustion of the fuel that takes place at constant pressure immediately after the compression stroke. It is a known fact that given the same compression ratio and all else being equal geometrically, an Otto -- more commonly known to us all as a spark ignition -- engine cycle actually has a higher thermal efficiency. More importantly and relevantly, however, when maximum peak cylinder pressure and temperature are the limiting criteria, dictated by structural strength and material thermal resistance of the engine components, the Diesel cycle is more efficient. A number of differences between Otto and Diesel engines in practice also account for a great efficiency advantage enjoyed by the latter. These include:
· Elimination of the use of a restrictive throttle plate in a Diesel reduces pumping losses as the engine would otherwise have to work against a vacuum in the intake
· Engine running lean (with an excess of air)

Upon finishing his work at the Munich Technical University, Diesel went on to work at a refrigeration company known as Linde and later to Maschinenfabrik Augsburg, located in Augsburg, Germany. In the first few decades after the first Diesel engine ran successfully, the same principle design found widespread use in ships, locomotives and large stationary power generating plants, quickly rendering obsolete steam power's ubiquity in these applications. In the U.S., the Cummins Engine Company bought licenses to Diesel's patent and rights to manufacture the Diesel engine.

The Diesel engine's greatest advantages over steam and other powerplants were in its much higher thermal efficiency, and for the power developed in relation to its size and weight. However, in regards to the latter factor as well as other pragmatic limitations, the Diesel engine was disadvantageous relative to the gasoline-fuelled Otto engine, by now the de facto standard for passenger automobiles. It was from a technological breakthrough in Diesel fuel injection equipment from the Robert Bosch Company that made it possible for Diesel engines to be applied into small passenger cars. The first of these to make it into series production was likely the Mercedes-Benz 260D, which was first introduced in 1936. At about the same time, Ferdinand Porsche was commissioned to design the Volkswagen, or People's Car in German, which later became known as the
Käfer, or Beetle in the English translation. While a gasoline-fuelled, air-cooled, 4-cylinder Boxer engine was planned for this car, an obscure blueprint drafted by Porsche also showed plans for a Diesel version of the otherwise same engine. A few prototypes were known to have been built, but the Diesel flat-4 engine never saw the light of production.

Throughout the latter part of the 1960s and early 1970s, still the heyday of air-cooled Beetles, Type IIIs and Microbuses, the post-war Volkswagen led by Chairman Dr. Ernst Fiala, was at work with a replacement for the these models with a new generation of water-cooled powerplants. Both Boxer and inline concepts were developed, gasoline-fuelled as well as Diesel. Instrumental in the development of these engines were engineers at VW and Audi, namely figures like Michael Willman and Peter Hofbauer. By the mid-1970s (1973 onwards), the inline Diesel and gasoline engine designs took their final shape. The 1.5 liter inline-4 gasoline engine, dubbed EA827, debuted in the VW Passat (Dasher in the U.S.) and Golf in 1974, and the Diesel engine (EA086), which was developed in parallel, and which shared many components and design features with the gasoline version came about a year later. To this day, all four-cylinder VW engines, gasoline and Diesel, still share many of the same features from their nearly three decades-old predecessors!

Not long after the introduction of the water-cooled indirect-injected Diesel engine from VW, the head of Audi, a young Ferdinand Piëch, grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, recruited an engineer by the name of Richard van Basshuysen, who was instrumental in developing the Wankel rotary engine for the former NSU, to lead a team to develop a direct-injected Diesel. The development group would span both Volkswagen in Wolfsburg and also Audi in Neckarsulm, and the engineering cast included names such as Joseph Steinwart and Jens Neumann.

Single-cylinder research prototypes were designed, and variants of early working engines were showcased in VW and Audi concept cars before seeing series production. By eliminating the swirl-chamber, the direct-injected Diesel engine had further improved fuel efficiency -- between 15 to 20 percent more than the IDI version -- although at the expense of increased combustion noise, lower maximum engine speed, and an increase in certain emissions if without further development. Technological breakthroughs in the understanding of Diesel combustion processes and computational fluid dynamics came to the rescue. Also, just like several decades before, Bosch stepped up with advances in Diesel fuel injection equipment. Electronic control, higher pressures and pilot injection, along with geometrical optimization of the piston bowl and swirl intake ports all combined to enable all of the direct-injected Diesel's shortcomings to be addressed.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 09:35   #13
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I believe the Mann museum now possesses an example of the compression-ignition engines of British design and manufacture, put into operation in their thousands, before the diesel was running
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Old March 16th, 2008, 10:04   #14
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... surviving examples of which are still only in museums.

Edit: surviving examples bearing the inventor's name of which are still only in museums.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 00:37   #15
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Today.

Happy Birthday, Rudy!
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