What Controls the Power Output of a Diesel Engine?
There are several factors that control the power output of a diesel engine. A modern diesel engine, for example, has electronic controls and variable geometry turbochargers. This translates into a lighter, more powerful engine. Modern diesel engines have piston strokes between two and three thousand rpm and are pushed to deliver greater power in smaller displacements. However, there is a black smoke limit, beyond which the fuel cannot fully combust.
Throughout the engine’s cycle, airflow is key to making power. Fuel must be metered to match this airflow. The engine must also be fitted with precise controls to optimize these systems. If not optimized properly, these systems can damage the engine and push it beyond its operating limits. The power output of a diesel engine is affected by the amount of fuel and air it burns. Here’s how it works.
Modern diesel engines are based on two inventions. One is a piston and cylinder arrangement. Another is a slider crank mechanism. They both have similar basic structures. Modern diesel engines burn fuel by high pressure. The combustion process occurs intermittently during the power stroke. This is in contrast to gas turbines that are continuous. When combustion is complete, exhaust gases are forced out of the cylinder. This is what drives the piston downward.
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An engine’s governor is the primary component in determining its power output. This component controls the speed of the engine and fuel pump. It is responsible for adjusting the engine’s fuel pump settings to keep the engine running at the proper speed. A mechanical governor uses a combination of mechanical and electrical components. A small magnetic pick-up coil is used as a speed sensing device. The fuel controls are moved by a hydraulic unit.