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Energy Systems Division

Fuel Kinetics

Investigating the autoignition behavior of transportation-relevant fuels to better understand how these influence combustion in advanced internal combustion engines

Argonne’s fuel kinetics research investigates the autoignition behavior of transportation-relevant fuels to better understand how these influence combustion in advanced internal combustion engines. The autoignition behavior of fuels affects engine performance and pollutant formation in current conventional and future engines. Understanding and quantifying the autoignition behavior of real fuels is critically important to designing modern, boosted spark ignition engines—as well as configuring engines to employ novel low-temperature combustion concepts—and for developing fuels capable of optimizing engine performance.

Researchers conduct experiments using a rapid compression machine (RCM) platform covering a wide range of operating conditions, while undertaking simulations using both detailed and reduced-order modeling, which creates an approximated engine model in order to reduce computational complexity. They then apply advanced statistical analysis tools to interpret trends and improve fundamental understanding as well as model fidelity. This work can reduce the cost and effort required to design new engines and formulate petroleum-based and alternative fuels capable of meeting evolving emissions regulations and performance targets.

Researchers use Argonne’s RCM facilities to create test environments that represent combustion chamber conditions, without the complex fluid dynamics and multi-phase phenomena that occur within actual operating engines. Argonne offers a unique combination of experimental facilities and technical expertise that covers the full range of activities necessary to test and understand fuel formulations, from the fundamentals of combustion chemistry to applications in modern and advanced combustion engines.