|Sample CHEMKIN output. Click to enlarge.|
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has selected Reaction Design, a leader in combustion simulation technology, to develop fuel models for simulating the operation of jet engines with alternative fuels.
The two-year project will be led by Reaction Design with experimental support from researchers at the University of Southern California. The project will develop detailed chemical kinetics models and validate them with experimental data to allow prediction of important parameters related to ignition, extinction, and pollutant formation for Fischer-Tropsch fuels and biofuels for both commercial and military jet engines.
The project’s key objective is to develop a comprehensive set of fundamental data on the combustion of alternative jet fuels, using a surrogate fuel approach. The results will provide guidance to the planning and design of optimal fuel-production processes.
Both the understanding of detailed chemistry and the processing power of computers have greatly increased in the last decade, enabling accurate simulation of combustion for enhanced, clean-technology design. Petroleum fuels such as kerosene contain hundreds of different hydrocarbon species that all contribute in specific ways towards ignition, flame propagation and pollutant formation.
The traditional technique of simulating these fuels using empirically-derived chemistry parameters does not provide the accurate emissions predictions nor the necessary detail required for use in design and optimization, according to the company. Thus, the development of accurate surrogate fuel models for use in chemical kinetic simulations is a critical step toward enabling computer-aided engine and fuel design for petroleum and alternative fuels alike.
Reaction Design is the exclusive developer and distributor of CHEMKIN, widely used software for modeling gas-phase and surface chemistry. Reaction Design also offers the KINetics software package, which brings detailed kinetics modeling to other engineering applications, such as Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) programs.
Reaction Design also leads the Model Fuels Consortium (MFC). (Earlier post.)