Rudolf Diesel – Biography of Rudolf Diesel

The german engineer Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel He was born on March 18, 1858 in Paris, the son of German parents: his mother was a housekeeper and tutor who taught him the German language, while his father was a rather famous leather craftsman.

After attending primary school with excellent results, at the age of twelve he enrolled at the Ecole Primaire Superieure, considered one of the best secondary schools in the French capital.

With the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, the Diesel family was seen as the enemy, so they emigrated seeking refuge in London, Great Britain, a neutral country.

Later, with the help of a cousin, Diesel, while the war was still continuing, he went to Augusta, his family’s hometown, and there he was admitted to the Royal County School of Commerce: excellent student, at the age of fourteen, he wrote a letter to his parents informing them of your intention to become an engineer.

After completing the necessary studies in 1873, he entered the newly founded Augsburg Industrial School, and two years later obtained a scholarship to study at the Technische Hochschule in Munich, in Bavaria, which he accepted against the advice of his parents, who they wanted me to start working; in this period, he became a disciple of Carl von Linde.

In 1880,

Rudolf diesel he graduated: it is from that moment that he committed himself to the search for a more effective replacement for steam in thermal machines.

In the meantime he worked in Winterthur, Switzerland, as a technician and designer before returning to Paris to join the Linde Refrigeration Industries as an engineer.

In 1883 he married, and two years later he founded his first office, which also functioned as a laboratory. Counting on a remarkable preparation in both physics and mathematics, he dedicated himself to the design of an engine characterized by a higher performance than that of the steam engine, and of the engine invented shortly before by Nikolaus Otto. The idea of Diesel it was that of an engine that made use only of the high temperature produced in the combustion chamber by compression of the air for the ignition of the fuel.

The project had not yet been completed when it was moved to Berlin, at Linde’s request; In 1892, on February 23, he received a patent for his engine in Germany, so that he was able to find the funding and support he needed to complete the project: until 1897, however, he was unable to create a functioning specimen properly and fully satisfactorily.

Meanwhile, he published in 1893, an essay entitled “The theory and construction of a rational heat engine, intended to replace the steam engine and other combustion engines known up to now“, in which he explained the principle of operation of his intuition; in February 1894, he completed a single-piston engine, which during a public demonstration he ran for one minute, fed with pulverized fuel, introduced by compressed air.

It was only in 1897 that the invention of Rudolf diesel was completely defined: while working at the Maschinenfabrik Augsburg, he built a fully functional prototype, albeit similar in many respects, to the one proposed by Herbert Akroyd Stuart two years earlier (for this reason there would be many controversies about the paternity of The patent).

Diesel He officially presented his engine during the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1900, after three years of study: an engine that ran on peanut oil as fuel and that began to be manufactured almost immediately.

In a very short time, Diesel achieved millionaire profits, guaranteed by the patents recognized for its engine in all European countries, becoming very rich. Beginning in 1904, he performed at a series of lectures in the United States, explaining his project in detail.

Rudolf diesel died suddenly on September 30, 1913 in the English Channel, falling into the sea during a boat trip to England, from France. The circumstances of the episode, however, were never clarified: according to some, it would be suicide, as shown by a cross drawn in the log book found on the empty boat; according to others, the death of would have been caused by the German Navy, which at that time was beginning to explode the new engines in its submarines, against the advice of its inventor.

According to the latest theory, the journey of Diesel which was taking it to Great Britain, would have the purpose of proposing to the Royal Navy the use of its engines, which is why the German Empire would have had to eliminate it.

The truth is that, in his will, Diesel He requested that his wife Martha receive a suitcase containing a modest sum of money and a very voluminous file with documents that testified to the debts he had contracted with various banks: these debts would then support the theory of suicide.

The corpse of Rudolf diesel, once discovered by the sailors, it was returned to the sea, according to the custom of the time.