The smell of diesel fuel has been a topic of debate for a very long time. Some people like the odor of the fuel, while some people can not stand the smell. In this article, I tried to answer the simple question regarding what diesel smells like. Read on to find how does the fuel smells.
What Does Diesel Smell Like?
We know that odors are quite difficult to describe. One cannot describe perfectly the smell of diesel as it might seem different to different people.
The diesel fuel or diesel exhaust is much cleaner than the time it was first discovered. While you are at the station to fill diesel in your car, you get a very strong smell of diesel. You will feel that the smell is somewhere in between the smell of kerosene and some oil that you have never smelt.
Some people are disgusted by the scent of diesel while some quite love it. During the initial years in the 1970s and 1980s, the diesel engines were rejected by most drivers due to the excessive noise and foul smell. The older versions of the diesel engines caused loud noises standing in the traffic to speeding up or down the road.
The smell of diesel was much stronger and intolerable than the smell of gasoline or other alternatives for motor vehicles.
Therefore, those cars that did not have diesel engines were much preferred to those with diesel engines. However, due to the advancement in science and technology, this problem has been reduced. The diesel engines are no longer as smelly as they used to be.
Also, they marginally make more sound than the traditional gasoline engine. People who are unaware of the subtle details of the smell and sound of both engines will not be able to tell the difference between the two. Modern technology allows you to own a diesel engine without making many compromises.
What is Diesel Fuel?
Diesel fuel is a colloquial term for distillate fuel oil. It is primarily used for motor vehicles that have compression ignition engines. The engine is named after its engineer, Rudolf Diesel which has lent its name to the oil too.
Petroleum diesel or fossil diesel is the most common type of diesel fuel used in motor vehicles. It is obtained by the fractional distillation process of the crude oil at a particular temperature. The temperature to obtain diesel fuel needs to be between 200⁰C to 350⁰C, which is 392ºC to 662ºC.
A particular atmospheric pressure and in these conditions is required to obtain diesel fuel that results in a mixture of carbon chains, where it typically contains 9 to 25 carbons per molecule. Diesel fuel is more filtered than biomass materials and crude oil.
What is the Use of Diesel Fuel?
Diesel fuel is tasked with many things. It can be useful for everyone and largely affects the country’s economy. The diesel engines in the trains, trucks, barges, and boats are responsible for transporting all the goods we consume. Generally, diesel engines are also preferred in school buses and public buses.
Most of the modern and advanced construction and farm equipment are powered with diesel fuel. The heavy work at construction sites like digging trenches and foundations, paving roads, digging wells, and lifting steel beams safely are all done with diesel engines.
The military also uses diesel engines as this fuel is less explosive and less flammable than all the contemporaries. These engines are also low maintenance and less likely to stall so they are preferred than the petroleum or gasoline engines. Diesel fuel has one more important use.
They are used in diesel engine generators to generate electricity. Many large buildings, industrial facilities, electrical utilities, hospitals, and institutional facilities have diesel engine generators as their backup in case of electric power failure. Many remote areas also use diesel generators as their primary source of energy.
Do kerosene and Diesel Fuel Smell the Same?
The smell of diesel can be labeled as “aromatic”. The smell of kerosene and diesel is similar but not the same. The smell of diesel fuel is stronger and more pungent than kerosene. The characteristics property of diesel and kerosene are also similar. A diesel engine can run smoothly on kerosene for about an hour.
The only striking difference is that kerosene is due to the lack of lubrication. If you want to visualize their smells, then colors like red and blue can be assigned to them. It is similar but has distinct features of its own.
Do Petrol and Diesel Smell the Same?
You can easily differentiate between diesel and petrol. They smell quite different. Petrol is less dense than diesel. If you keep petrol and diesel on your palm, then petrol will evaporate faster than diesel. Also, diesel will leave behind an oily texture on your palm. The color of petrol and diesel is also quite distinct.
Diesel is black, while petrol has a lighter shade. Also, if you smell burning petrol and burning diesel, the smell of that is different. The smell of the smoke when you burn petrol is less pungent than when you burn diesel. Also, the color of the smoke is distinct. Petrol produces light-colored smoke, while the diesel produces dark-colored smoke.
Final Words on How Does Diesel Fuel Smell?
I have tried to describe how diesel smells. This article will help you distinguish between diesel and its contemporaries.
If you want to experience the smell of diesel, then you can go to the nearest station and smell it. If you have any suggestions or further questions about this article, do mention them in the comments section below. Also, do not forget to check the same section later for the answers.
Robert Anderson is a world class motorhead who rebuilt his first carb at age 10, his first engine at age 15, and completed his first full hotrod build when he was just 18! Previously, he has ran a part warehouse, delivered pizzas, and managed the service department for a $20 million/year revenue dealership. Robert knows cars like few others and he is passionate about sharing his knowledge.