Researchers from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Viktor Zhukov, Vladislav Sechenov and Andrei Starikovsky, have published experimental data on the combustion of jet fuel in the journal Fuel. The results of their research are important for simulating processes in jet engines.
In their paper, the scientists described how quickly a mixture of jet fuel and oxygen ignites depending on different conditions. This value, called the induction period or combustion delay period, was defined for different temperatures, pressure values and blending ratios. The data obtained at the Department of Aerophysics and Space Research allows for validating kinetic models of the burning of kerosene, which is a complex mixture of various hydrocarbons.
According to Viktor Zhukov, scientists are able to accurately simulate the burning of simple gas mixtures, for example, natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas, and it is far more difficult to simulate the burning of more complex fuels, including jet fuel. The burning of such complex fuels is studied in a special experimental setup.
The paper focuses specifically on kerosene, not biofuels or alternative fuels based on liquefied natural gas. According to the researchers, the choice of fuel was determined by its prevalence: the vast majority of airlines operate on kerosene derived from petroleum. The cost of alternative fuels is about twice as high and their sources so far are too limited to mass-replace kerosene.
Note: An author of the study, Vladislav Sechenov, passed away in 2014, shortly before its publication. Mr. Sechenov was an assistant professor at MIPT and headed a laboratory at the Department of Aerophysics and Space Research. He authored a number of outstanding research projects on the physics of plasma.