Engines are the thing that moves all of our vehicles, with the exception of EVs because they use electric motors. While everyone knows this, what about how they work and the difference between gasoline and diesel engines? Well, if you want to find out about these two things, continue reading. We will give you a simplified explanation of how they both work and how they differ.
Gasoline engines produce a lot of power but less torque, making them ideal for light vehicles or performance ones. To better understand how they work, we will split the main processes that occur into four parts below:
- Air intake - The first thing every engine does, no matter what fuel it uses, is intake air. It travels from the outside, through a filter, and in the cylinders.
- Fueling - Fuel is injected by the injectors at exact intervals and amounts hundreds of times a minute.
- Compression and ignition - When the mixture is in the cylinder, the piston compresses it by moving up. Then the spark plugs give a spark, igniting the fuel and air, creating an explosion.
- Exhaust - After the reaction, all of the power is converted to mechanical, and the leftover gasses are directed to the exhaust system.
Diesel engines differ from gasoline ones primarily by their torque output. They have a much higher torque output, which makes them perfect for heavy vehicles or machinery. Here are the main processes that occur in a diesel engine:
- Air intake - Just like a gasoline engine, fresh air is collected and sent to the cylinders.
- Fueling - Fuel is sprayed in the cylinders.
- Compression and ignition - After the fuel has been compressed and mixed, here comes the key difference between the two. The mixture self-ignites due to the high pressure and temperature that the compression produces.
- Exhaust - Leftover CO2 and other gasses are discarded in the catalytic converter.
The main difference, as you may have seen, is the ignition process. In gasoline engines, it is done by a spark plug, and in diesel ones, it happens on its own. This means that diesel engines need to be more durable and robust to handle the powerful explosions diesel fuel produces.
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