Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel (1858 - 1913) is the father of diesel engines, born in the Victorian city of Paris, France.
His parents were Bavarian immigrants. Rudolf Diesel was educated at Munich Polytechnic. After graduation he was employed as a refrigerator engineer. However, he true love lay in engine design. Rudolf Diesel designed many heat engines, including a solar-powered air engine. In 1893, he published a paper describing an engine with combustion within a cylinder, the internal combustion engine. In 1894, he filed for a patent for his new invention, dubbed the diesel engine. Rudolf Diesel was almost killed by his engine when it exploded. However, his engine was the first that proved that fuel could be ignited without a spark. He operated his first successful engine in 1897.
In 1898, Rudolf Diesel was granted patent #608,845 for an "internal combustion engine" the Diesel engine.
The diesel engines of today are refined and improved versions of Rudolf Diesel's original concept. They are often used in submarines, ships, locomotives, and large trucks and in electric generating plants.
Though best known for his invention of the pressure-ignited heat engine that bears his name, Rudolf Diesel was also a well-respected thermal engineer and a social theorist. Rudolf Diesel's inventions have three points in common: They relate to heat transference by natural physical processes or laws; they involve markedly creative mechanical design; and they were initially motivated by the inventor's concept of sociological needs. Rudolf Diesel originally conceived the diesel engine to enable independent craftsmen and artisans to compete with large industry.
At Augsburg, on August 10, 1893, Rudolf Diesel's prime model, a single 10-foot iron cylinder with a flywheel at its base, ran on its own power for the first time. Rudolf Diesel spent two more years making improvements and in 1896 demonstrated another model with the theoretical efficiency of 75 percent, in contrast to the ten percent efficiency of the steam engine. By 1898, Rudolf Diesel was a millionaire. His engines were used to power pipelines, electric and water plants, automobiles and trucks, and marine craft, and soon after were used in mines, oil fields, factories, and transoceanic shipping.
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