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The Diesel cycle is a combustion process of a reciprocating internal combustion engine. In it, fuel is ignited by heat generated during the compression of air in the combustion chamber, into which fuel is then injected. This is in contrast to igniting the fuel-air mixture with a spark plug as in the Otto cycle engine. Diesel engines are used in aircraft, automobiles, power generation, diesel-electric locomotives, and both surface ships and submarines.

The Diesel cycle is a combustion process of a reciprocating internal combustion engine. In it, fuel is ignited by heat generated during the compression of air in the combustion chamber, into which fuel is then injected. This is in contrast to igniting the fuel-air mixture with a spark plug as in the Otto cycle (four-stroke/petrol) engine. Diesel engines are used in aircraft, automobiles, power generation, diesel-electric locomotives, and both surface ships and submarines.

The Diesel cycle is assumed to have constant pressure during the initial part of the combustion phase ( to in the diagram, below). This is an idealized mathematical model: real physical diesels do have an increase in pressure during this period, but it is less pronounced than in the Otto cycle. In contrast, the idealized Otto cycle of a gasoline engine approximates a constant volume process during that phase.

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