Fundamentals of the Diesel Cycle

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Fundamentals of the Diesel Cycle
Ignition occurs in a diesel by injecting fuel into the air charge which has been heated by compression to a temperature greater than the ignition point of the fuel.

A diesel engine converts the energy stored in the fuel's chemical bonds into mechanical energy by burning the fuel. The chemical reaction of burning the fuel liberates heat, which causes the gasses to expand, forcing the piston to rotate the crankshaft.

A four-stroke engine requires two rotations of the crankshaft to complete one cycle. The event occur as follows:

Intake - the piston passes TDC, the intake valve(s) open and the fresh air is admitted into the cylinder, the exhaust valve is still open for a few degrees to allow scavenging to occur. 

Compression - after the piston passes BDC the intake valve closes and the piston travels up to TDC (completion of the first crankshaft rotation).

Fuel injection - As the piston nears TDC on the compression stroke, the fuel is injected by the injectors and the fuel starts to burn, further heating the gasses in the cylinder.

Power - the piston passes TDC and the expanding gasses force the piston down, rotating the crankshaft. 

Exhaust - as the piston passes BDC the exhaust valves open and the exhaust gasses start to flow out of the cylinder. This continues as the piston travels up to TDC, pumping the spent gasses out of the cylinder. At TDC the second crankshaft rotation is complete.