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Turbulent combustion of alternative engine fuels

Academic lead
Dr Malcolm Lawes, School of Mechanical Engineering
Industrial lead
Roger Cracknell, Shell Global Solutions
Prof Alison Tomlin, School and Chemical and Process Engineering, Prof Derek Bradley, School of Mechanical Engineering
Project themes
Reacting flows, mixing and safety

Issues of climate change, fuel supply and CO2 emissions provide exciting prospects for the investigation of new and improved fuels.  Turbocharging is becoming an increasingly important means of achieving the required very high engine efficiency and emissions reduction without loss of power. The requirement is for high burning rates with an absence of knock. Improved fuels have very different characteristics to those of conventional ones. Therefore, it is essential to improve fundamental understanding of turbulent combustion and auto-ignition in the context of turbocharged engines.

The laminar and turbulent burning velocities and auto-ignition delay time have a strong influence on power and efficiency. There now is an urgent need to provide data for the possible new fuels. Although there is considerable knowledge of laminar flames, highly turbulent combustion is far less well understood. The present project will involve both experimental and modelling studies. Experiments will utilise a unique fan-stirred turbulent combustion vessel and advanced laser diagnostics to obtain measurements of turbulence and turbulent combustion at the elevated temperatures and pressures relevant to new engine technologies.  Autoignition will be studied experimentally in a state of the art rapid compression machine and through world leading chemical kinetic modelling.