This paper traces the historical progress of diesel power-plants over the past half century. Many ideas prevailing today are based on early stages of diesel development.
The theory expounded by Dr. Diesel in 1894 encompassed ignition by high compression. Use of this new powerplant concept was envisioned for locomotives, engines for large and small power on land, and marine engines. Obviously, this philosophy has been fulfilled to a marked degree over the years.
Early problems involving a dearth of knowledge on fuel-spray characteristics and uncontrolled cylinder head temperatures are mentioned. Development of injection systems, characteristics of different types of fuels, use of additives and detergents in fuels, bearings, piston requirements, and the influence of turbulence on combustion are some topics reviewed.
With advanced technical knowledge, metallurgical improvements, and modern manufacturing techniques diesel engines have met the demand for an economical, low cost high output power source.