• FA-117483 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Energy & Mining
Mechanical Engineering
1850 - 1899

The first diesel engine built in Austria

The rather different engine: for his engine, Rudolf Diesel first developed a scientific theory, which he then put into practice.

In 1893, Rudolf Diesel published his ‘Theory and construction of a rational heat-engine’. The inventor started from a scientific theory and put this into practice. Diesel described his working process in this publication, which was highly regarded at the time, in a diagram that was based on the Carnot process. In the case of steam engines, gas and petrol engines, the precursors of the diesel engine, knowledge was derived from experience and the theory was worked out later.

The underlying principle of this engine was that the air in the cylinder is very highly compressed. As in a bicycle pump, the air is heated by compression.
The injected fuel ignites by itself. The initial combustion further increases the pressure and the piston moves from the top to the bottom dead centres. After combustion, the exhaust gas is pushed out.

However, development into a reliable drive motor would take several years. After a series of trial engines, the first operational diesel engine was produced in 1897. In the following year, the motor exhibited in the Technisches Museum Wien (Vienna Technical Museum) was built in Vienna. It was used by the company Krupp in Berndorf, Lower Austria. Compressed air was used to inject the fuel and flush out the exhaust gases. This is why a compressor and steel cylinders for the compressed air are part of the appearance of early diesel engines.

Inv.Nr. 682
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