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The diesel engine (also known as a compression-ignition or CI engine), named after Rudolf Diesel, is an internal combustion engine in which ignition of the fuel which is injected into the combustion chamber is caused by the elevated temperature of the air in the cylinder due to mechanical compression (adiabatic compression). Diesel engines work by compressing only the air. This increases the air temperature inside the cylinder to such a high degree that atomised diesel fuel that is injected into the combustion chamber ignites spontaneously. This contrasts with spark-ignition engines such as a petrol engine (gasoline engine) or gas engine (using a gaseous fuel as opposed to petrol), which use a spark plug to ignite an air-fuel mixture. In diesel engines, glow plugs (combustion chamber pre-warmers) may be used to aid starting in cold weather, or when the engine uses a lower compression-ratio, or both. The original diesel engine operates on the "constant pressure" cycle of gradual combustion and produces no audible knock.
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