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High-Performance Jet Fuels

A jet plane engine
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Accurate and reliable chemical kinetic models for jet fuels are imperative for the development of high-efficiency jet engines and next-generation combustion strategies.

However, most detailed reaction mechanisms for distillate jet fuels – fuels composed of thousands of hydrocarbon species – are still preliminary or limited in their ability to predict the oxidation and pyrolysis behavior of real fuels. Our laboratory addresses this problem by providing the experimental basis for a novel Hybrid Chemistry (HyChem) modeling approach, developed in collaboration with Professor Hai Wang at Stanford [1,2]. Shock tubes combined with laser absorption diagnostics can furnish the kinetic targets (e.g., ignition delay times, oxidation and pyrolysis species time-histories, etc.) needed to validate and optimize key reaction pathways.

Other notable jet fuel studies conducted by our group include the first high-accuracy dataset of methane and ethylene formation during jet fuel pyrolysis [3], and observation of consistent auto-ignition behavior among different distillate fuel types (jet fuel, rocket propellant, kerosene, diesel, and gasoline) [4].

a chart tracking pressure, fuel absorbance, ethylene mole fraction, methane mole fraction across time
Example jet fuel studies, including species time histories [3] (left) and ignition delay time studies [4] of jet (A), rocket (R), kerosene (K), diesel (D), and gasoline (G) fuels (right).

To learn more, check out some of our publications:

[1] H. Wang, R. Xu, K. Wang, C.T. Bowman, R.K. Hanson, D.F. Davidson, K. Brezinsky, and F.N. Egolfopoulos, “A physics-based approach to modeling real-fuel combustion chemistry-I. Evidence from experiments, and thermodynamic, chemical kinetic and statistical considerations,” Combustion and Flame, Vol. 193 (2018) pp. 502–519. DOI: 10.1016/j.combustflame.2018.03.019

[2] R. Xu, K. Wang, S. Banerjee, J. Shao, T. Parise, Y. Zhu, S.K. Wang, A. Movaghar, D.J. Lee, R.H. Zhao, X. Han, Y. Gao, T.F. Lu, K. Brezinsky, F.N. Egolfopoulos, D.F. Davidson, R.K. Hanson, and H. Wang. “A physics-based approach to modeling real-fuel combustion chemistry–II. Reaction kinetic models of jet and rocket fuels,” Combustion and Flame, Vol. 193 (2018) pp. 520–537 DOI: 10.1016/j.combustflame.2018.03.021

[3] J. Shao, Y. Zhu, S.K. Wang, D.F. Davidson, and R.K. Hanson. “A shock tube study of jet fuel pyrolysis and ignition at elevated pressures and temperatures,” Fuel, Vol. 226 (2018) pp. 338–344. DOI: 10.1016/j.fuel.2018.04.028

[4] D.F. Davidson, Y. Zhu, J. Shao, and R.K. Hanson. “Ignition delay time correlations for distillate fuels,” Fuel, Vol. 187, (2017) pp. 26–32. DOI: 10.1016/j.fuel.2016.09.047