Episode 126 — Diesel Power

Aeronautical engineer Clay Coons joins us to discuss the many applications of diesel engines.

  • Adam’s Kubota BX tractor is powered by a 23 HP diesel engine.
  • During his high school years, Jeff learned that gasoline (petrol) engines don’t run too well on diesel fuel.
  • Ska Punk music often features horns, as evidenced on a song Carmen remembers from his youth, Sugar in Your Gas Tank by Less Than Jake.
  • Our guest for this episode is aeronautical engineer Clay Coons, who joined us previously on episodes titled Travel and Engines.
  • Diesel engines use compression, rather than a spark, to ignite air-fuel mixtures.
  • Modern diesel engines use turbocharging to compress the intake air being fed into the combustion chamber.
  • Diesel fuel contains about 14% more energy per unit volume than does gasoline.
  • Diesel engines operate at a rotational speed that is nearly half of that for a comparable gasoline engine.
  • Due to their relatively heavy weight, it is rare to find a diesel engine used for aircraft propulsion.
  • While nearly half the automobiles sold in Europe have diesel engines, that number is closer to 3% in the United States.
  • Anemic performance and poor reliability, associated with Oldsmobile diesel engines sold during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, has been blamed for retarding North American diesel car sales over the past thirty years .
  • Adam asks about the use of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF).
  • In mining applications, a diesel engine can operate 25,000 to 30,000 hours between rebuilds.
  • Many heavy-duty trucks use the SAE J1939 standard for sharing information between vehicle components.
  • Our guest speaks highly of the cask ales he tried on a recent trip to Scotland.

Thanks to Ilya Plekhanov for use of the photo titled “BelAZ 75600 on Bachatskom Coal Mine, Kemerovo Region.” Opening music by John Trimble, and concluding theme by Paul Stevenson.

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