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Week 3: Fuels

​11 to 15 February, 2018​


Understand what makes fuels burn, and how to design the fuels for a sustainable future. Rapid compression machines, shock tubes, electron guns, cool flames or the newest kinetic models to understand how fuels burn​.






9:00 - 10:30 AM 

Class 1: Fuel Characterization​

Class 2: Fuel Chemistry ​

Class 3: Fuel Design​

Class 4: E-fuels and Carbon Capture

Student Presentations

10:30 – 12:00 PM

Lab tour

Lab project​

Lab project

Lab project​​

Student Presentations

12:00 – 01:00 PM






01:00 – 05:00 PM

​Lab tour Safety training

Lab project​

​Lab project

​Lab project




  • Class 1: Fuel Characterization (Detailed hydrocarbon analysis, NMR analysis, Ignition quality tester, Distillation curve, physical properties)
  • Class 2: Fuel Chemistry (Chemical kinetics of fuel pyrolysis and oxidation, Rate coefficients, Rate rules, Reaction mechanisms, Fundamental experiments in idealized reactors)
  •  Class 3: Fuel Design
  • Class 4: E-fuels and Carbon capture

Students Pre​​sentations

Discuss your findings, and compete for the FUEL award


  • Lab Project 1​ : Ignition in Rapid Compression Machine


The twin-opposed piston RCM facility at KAUST​

The students will learn how to measure homogeneous ignition delay times using a rapid compression machine (RCM) facility. They will prepare mixtures of fuel and air in a specially designed mixing vessel. The students will then learn to operate the RCM and will achieve various compressed pressures and temperatures to generate an ignition delay vs temperature curve. 

​Lab project 2: Laser Diagnostics in Shock Tubes

The ring-dye laser used to generate visible light which is frequency doubled to UV. Shock tube with heating jacket is seen in the back.​

Shock tubes may be classified as ideal zero-dimensional reactor to study fuel chemistry and autoignition behavior. In addition to ignition delay times, the shock tubes serve as idea devices to measure reaction rate constants and species time-histories. These measurements require the application of laser diagnostics in shock tubes. The students will learn how to setup an absorption diagnostic on the shock tube and will measure reaction rate constant of H-abstraction by OH radicals with the help of a UV laser at 306 nm. 

  • Lab project 3: Mass Spectrometry

Molecular beam mass spectrometer for high fidelity measurements of combustion intermediates​

Electron Impact Ionisation–Molecular Beam Mass Spectrometry (EI-MBMS) is sampling system for identification and quantification of reactants, intermediates, and products. The sampling of the reactor contents is done by a quartz nozzle and a skimmer, which allows for the formation of a molecular beam. The sampled molecules are ionized by electrons generated with an electron gun whose energy and flux can be controlled. The ions are directed by optics to a Time of Flight (TOF) tube where they are separated by their mass to charge ratios. In this lab, students will apply MBMS techniques to study the complex intermediates formed in a combustion process.

  • ​​​​Lab project 4: Kinetic Modeling

Chemical kinetic modeling – from quantum mechanics to reactor simulations.

Combustion mechanisms include both low and high temperature reaction classes with rate coefficients either adopted from literature or calculated using computational methods. The models are validated against experimental ignition delay data from shock tubes and rapid compression machines or speciation data from jet stirred reactors. In this lab, the students will develop learn the computational tools to develop kinetic models and to simulate chemical kinetics in ideal reactors.​

  • Lab project 5: Cool Flames in Counter-flow Burner

Counterflow diffusion cool flames can be used to study complex chemistry-transport interactions that occur in combustors.​

A better knowledge of combustion processes in transport affected environments facilitates the understanding of ignition events in practical combustors. The counterflow facility is an atmospheric pressure setup designed to understand the interaction between flow and chemistry in diffusion flames. In this lab, the main focus is measurements of autoignition temperature, extinction limits, and flame structure of various liquid and gaseous fuels. The lab will study cool flames for various conventional and alternative fuels.