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Researchers Discover New Compounds in Combustion

An international collaboration between researchers from Sandia National Laboratory, Cornell University, U Mass Amherst, the University of Bielefeld, Germany, and the National Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory in Hefei, China have discovered a class of compounds that apparently is common is flames, but had gone undetected in more than a century and a half of flame chemistry research.

According to a paper published in Science, enols, technically in the family of alcohols, are part of the chemical pathway that occurs in hydrocarbon combustion.

A new technique for studying the compounds in flames—using a modified molecular-beam mass spectrometry (MBMS) machine that is 40 times more precise than other 11 MBMS machines in the world—brought them to light, so to speak.

The discovery will result in the modification of widely-accepted combustion models, and potentially opens up new approaches to reducing emissions and designing more energy-efficient engines, among other applications.



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