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Available MSc project:

Chemical kinetics in biofuel combustion



General description
Chemical kinetics is an important aspect of combustion research, since it help us understand not only
what is happening in the combustion process, but also why it happens. Detailed models of the
chemistry are developed to simulate the combustion of different fuels, for example ethanol and
methane. The models are based on experimental determinations of reaction rates and other properties of
the combustion process. The development of a successful model relies on accurately determined
experimental parameters. In the chemical kinetics group at Combustion Physics one aim is to improve
the models of biofuel combustion. An important part in this is performing flame studies; determination
of characteristics like flame speed and flame composition of specific fuel mixtures. The flame speed,
the speed at which the gas mixture propagate into a stationary flame, is a characteristic of a fuel
mixture, varying with temperature, pressure and oxidizer. The main experimental activity in the group
is to determine the flame speed of biofuels and their intermediates using the heat flux method. The heat
flux system is a simple experimental setup consisting of a mixing panel for accurate composition of the
fuel mixture, and a burner producing a flat laminar flame. The experimental data are used for
development and validation of chemical kinetics models.

Project description
Several projects related to biofuel combustion could be of interest for a MSc project. All projects
include both experimental work and modelling, but the main focus largely depends on the background
and interest of the student.
As an example of a project an extensive study on flames of ester compounds is conducted to investigate
the effect of properties like chain length, branching and saturation on the reactivity of the fuels. The
practical aplication of this is to understand the combustion of biodiesel, which is a mixture of many
different ester components. Flame speeds are measured for ester compounds and the results are
modelled using detailed chemical kinetics model in an attempt to reproduce and understand the
experimental results.
The project will require both experimental work and modeling using existing chemical kinetics models.

Qualifications
The candidate should have a background in engineering, physics or chemistry. It is strongly
recommended to either have taken the course Fundamental Combustion at the division of
Combustion Physics, or to have a strong background in reaction kinetics.

For more information contact:
Elna Heimdal Nilsson, office E414, 046-2221403, elna.heimdal_nilsson@forbrf.lth.se