Educational Questions & Answers

Why are diesel driven vehicles noisy?

Diesel engines are inherently noisy because of the auto-ignition of the initially formed mixture of fuel-vapour and air, which causes rapid rate of pressure rise producing the characteristic noise. This abnormality is due to the inborn feature of a diesel engine, which uses a high compression ratio to obtain high fuel efficiency and a high compression-temperature for ignition of the fuel injected into the cylinder at high pressure. In a diesel engine, unlike a petrol engine, the air and fuel do not mix outside the engine.

Air is compressed to a high compression ratio leading to high fuel efficiency, and also to a high compression temperature to initiate combustion. They just meet inside the combustion chamber for a brief period, while all the processes of mixture formation like fuel-jet break-up, evaporation and mixing should take place within a short time called ignition delay period. Combustion follows this after the initially formed fuel-air vapour auto-ignites with a noise, forming the sources of ignition (chemical spark plugs if you wish to call) for the bulk of the fuel remaining. Diesel engine can be made less noisy by using common rail high-pressure injection system and electronic control.

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Why are diesel driven vehicles noisy?