Selçuk Sarıkoç of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Amasya University in Turkey, and Nwabueze Emekwuru of the School of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Automotive Engineering at Coventry University, Coventry, United Kingdom, point out that oxygen additives make for a leaner burn in internal combustion engines and reduce pollution. The additives ensure complete and efficient combustion of the fuel. They point out that additives in the form of nanoparticles of metal and non-metal oxides can improve the combustion processes still further. Alumina, zinc oxide, titania, ceria, and silica have all been investigated as nanoparticle additives for fuels.
The team's survey of the state-of-the-art in nanofluid-based aviation fuels reveals that oxygenated additives, such as alcohol and metal oxide nanoparticles improve the thermal and physical properties of fuels even boosting total calorific value of the fuel, accelerating the combustion process, and reducing soot formation through cleaner burning of the fuel. Overall engine performance is improved with such additives. The presence of oxygen within the fuel itself contributes significantly to the improvement in combustion.
However, the team also points out that the presence of the nanoparticles leads to better heat transfer and their high surface area to volume ratio allows for more effective interaction between oxygen and the fuel molecules to boost the combustion reactions at high altitude through a catalytic effect.
Improvements in engine performance are always welcome in aviation. Such improvements can effectively boost useful load-carrying capacity, extend flight range, allow higher altitude flying, and improve fuel economy.
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