Rudolf Diesel, the famous inventor, was born on this day. Although he was of German nationality, it is interesting that Diesel was actually born in Paris. Namely, His parents were Bavarian immigrants in France. His father’s name was Theodor Diesel and he was a bookbinder by trade. The father came to France about 10 years before Rudolf was born, met Rudolf’s mother there and married her. She was also Bavarian.
Rudolf Diesel spent his early childhood in France, but was sent to Germany to live with his aunt in Augsburg at the age of 12. Thus Rudolf became fluent in German. In Germany, Diesel was educated to become an engineer. He studied at the renowned Munich University of Technology (Technische Hochschule), one of the most prestigious engineering institutions in the world. Diesel was very interested in thermodynamics, which eventually probably resulted in the much higher energy efficiency of the diesel engines.
Diesel engines are present in approximately 50 % of the vehicles in the European Union today. Indeed, in some countries, like France, diesel engines make up 70 % of the market. The largest diesel engine in the world is called the Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96-C. It is installed in large vessels and has an output of 108,920 hp. This engine has 14 cylinders and the total volume of its engine displacement is 25,480,000 cubic centimeters. It weighs 2,300 tons – the crankshaft alone has 300 tons.