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Fuels and Combustion

What is Matter?



The matter that can be converted from one arrangement of atoms to another with a release of energy


A chemical fuel is a substance which releases heat energy on combustion.

Fuels (Constituent Elements)

Hydrogen Sulphur ?????

Classification of Fuels
Liquid Gaseous

Solid Fuels
Natural Wood Peat Lignite
Coke Charcoal


Liquid Fuels

Gasoline Kerosene Alcohol

Gaseous Fuels

Natural Gas
Coal Gas Petroleum Gas Coke-oven Gas

Advantages of Liquid Fuels

Require less space for storage Higher calorific value Easy control of consumption Staff economy No danger of spontaneous combustion. Cleanliness No ash Non-deterioration in storage

Advantages of Gaseous Fuels

Better control of combustion Less (excess) air is required. Economy in fuel and better eff of op. Easy maintenance of oxidizing atm. Clean No storage problem. Distribution is easy.

Atomic and molecular weight

Atomic weight Oxygen 16 Hydrogen 1 Nitrogen Carbon
Oxygen 32 Carbon Water

Molecular weight

What is a chemical reaction?

The rearrangement of atoms due to redistribution of electrons. Reactants.

Reactants and Products

Reactants - Initial constituents that start the reaction. - Final constituents that are formed after the reaction.


Reaction is

Chemical Reaction
Different kinds of chemical reactions.
We will limit the scope to COMBUSTION.

Combustion of Hydrogen
2H2 + O2 = 2H2O

2(2*1) +(2*16)=2((2*1) +16) Reactants 2+1 Volumes



Combustion of Hydrogen
Volumetric contraction on combustion. 2H2 + O2 + (79/21)N2 = 2H2O +


Combustion of Carbon
Complete Combustion
C + O2 = CO2

Including N
C + O2 +

N2 = CO2 +



Combustion of Carbon (2)

By Volume
zero Volume C + 1 Volume O2 + (79/21) Volume N2 = 1 Volume CO2 +

Volume N2

Combustion of Carbon (3)

By mass
12kg of C + (2 x 16)kg O2 + (79/21) (2 x 14)kg N 2 = (12 + (2 x 16)) CO2 + (79/21) (2 x 14)kg N 2

Combustion of Carbon (4)

Incomplete Combustion
2C + O2 = 2CO Including N

2C + O2 +


N2 = 2CO +



Theoretical Air and Excess Air

Theoretical Air Minimum amount of air that supplies sufficient oxygen for the complete combustion of all the carbon, hydrogen and any other elements in the fuel that may oxidize. In practice, complete combustion does not take place with just theoretical air present. Amount of air supplied is generally greater than the theoretical air. This air is called the excess air.

Excess air
If air supplied is 150 per cent,
means air supplied is 1.5 times the theoretical air. in the mass and volume balance equations the oxygen and nitrogen terms are multiplied.

Excess air
150 percent theoretical air can be quantified as how much percent of excess air?
1.5 percent 5 percent 50 percent 150 percent

Why is excess air needed?

All the air supplied is not going to be in contact with the fuel. This leaves a portion of the fuel unburnt.
Excess air supplied will remedy this.

What is the precaution to be taken?

Preheating the excess air

The excess air that is introduced into the combustion chamber will be at ambient. This will result in a cooling effect.
Preheating will remedy this.

Air fuel ratio (A/F)

Stoichiometric mixture
Just sufficient oxygen for complete combustion of the fuel.

Weak mixture
Excess air

Rich mixture
Deficiency of air

Percentage of excess air

%age of excess air = Actual A/F ratio Stoichiometric A/F ratio

---------------------------------------------Stoichiometric A/F ratio

= Actual A/F ratio -------------------------Stoichiometric A/F ratio -1

A/F ratio
For gaseous fuels

For solid and liquid fuels mass

Mixture Strength
Mixture Strength
Actual A/F ratio -------------------------Stoichiometric A/F ratio

A/F ratio from analysis of PRODUCTS If the analysis of the combustion products is known, or The end result of the combustion process is known, then
A/F ratio can be found.

Methods to calculate A/F ratio from PRODUCTS of combustion

Fuel composition known
Carbon balance method Hydrogen balance method Carbon Hydrogen balance method

Fuel composition unknown

Carbon Hydrogen balance method

Carbon balance method

Accurate if
Combustion takes place with excess air. Solid carbon is not present in Products.

Hydrogen balance method

Used if solid carbon is present in the products.

Carbon Hydrogen balance method

Used if percentage of nitrogen is uncertain.

Volumetric analysis to Weight analysis Multiply Volume of each const. by its molecular weight. Express this weight as a percentage of the total weight. (for each constituent)

Weight Analysis to Volumetric Analysis Divide weight of each constituent by its molecular weight. Express this volume as percentage of total volume. (for each constituent)

Weight of Carbon in Flue Gases

Calculated using the amount of CO2 and CO present in the flue/exhaust gases. 1kg of carbon produces (complete combustion) 1kg of CO2 1kg of carbon 1 kg of CO contains produces contains 11/3 kg of CO2

3/11 kg of carbon 7/3 kg of CO 3/7 kg of carbon

Weight of Carbon in Flue Gases

Weight of carbon per kg of fuel
= (3/11) CO2 + (3/7) CO

Weight of flue gases per kg of fuel burnt

Supply of air, causes the weight of flue gases to be more than the weight of fuel burnt. No loss of carbon in the combustion process. Compare the weight of carbon in flue gases to that in the fuel.

Weight of flue gases per kg of fuel burnt

Weight of flue gas / kg of fuel burnt =

Weight of carbon in one kg of fuel -----------------------------------------Weight of carbon in one kg of flue gas

Analysis of exhaust and flue gas

Temperature of exhaust gases is generally higher than saturation temperature. Gases are cooled down to below the saturation temperature of the steam present. If Steam content is not included in the analysis, it is the analysis of the dry products. If Steam content is included, it is the analysis of the wet products.

Orsat apparatus for the Analysis of the combustion products.

Burette Gas Cleaner Absorption pipettes (4 Nos)

Orsat apparatus for the Analysis of the combustion products.

Pipettes are interconnected by a manifold. Each pipette has a cock valve at the neck. Pipettes contain chemicals to absorb CO2, CO, and O2. The pipettes are wetted by the absorbing agents, and then exposed to the gas to be analysed.

The measuring burette is surrounded by a water jacket. Why?

Orsat apparatus for the Analysis of the combustion products.

Pipette 1 2 3,4 KOH (Caustic Soda) Pyrogallic acid C6H3(OH)3 Cuprous Chloride CuCl (CO2) (O2) (CO)

Orsat apparatus for the Analysis of the combustion products.

Leveling bottle is lowered to draw in flue gas. (100cc). S1 is opened to force all of the gas into pipette 1. Leveling bottle is lowered again to measure the volume of gas absorbed. Process is repeated again and again.

Process is then repeated for S2, S3, S4.

Orsat apparatus for the Analysis of the combustion products.

Nitrogen content can be calculated by subtracting from all other contents.

Internal Energy and enthalpy of formation

In the complete combustion process, the energy released by unit mass of fuel depends on the temperature at which the process is carried out. If energy released at a particular temperature is known then the same can be calculated for any temperature.

Combustion - Variables
The combustion process takes place from reactants at a state defined by the following variables


Reference Temperature T0
Pressure or Volume

to the products at the same state

Internal Energy
UR0 UP0 UR1 UP1 UR2 UP2 U0 Q W Reactants Products Reactants Products Reactants Products at at at at at at T0 T0 T1 T1 T2 T2

Constant volume heat of combustion

Heat transferred to surroundings during the process

Work obtained during combustion process

Non-flow process involving combustion at constant volume

Non-flow energy equation is
Q = (U2 U1) + W Q = (UP0 - UR0)
W = 0 for const. volume combustion

Non-flow process involving combustion at constant volume

Reactants at T0 and V0

Products at T0 and V0


Non-flow process involving combustion at constant volume

The internal energy change is independent of the path between the two states.

It depends on the initial and final values and is quantified as Q

This heat transferred is called the internal energy of combustion at T0 or constant volume heat of combustion, given by U0.

U0 = (UP0 - UR0)
U0 is negative since internal energy including the chemical and heat is transferred from the system.

Non-flow process involving combustion at constant volume

In the real physical problem, the initial and final temperatures will not be at T0 The processes can be divided into three stages
Change for reactants from a state 1 to T0 Constant volume combustion at T0 Change for products from T0 to a state 2

Enthalpy of formation
The increase in enthalpy when a compound is formed from its constituent elements in their natural form and in a standard state.
What would the expression for the enthalpy of formation be?

Calorific Values
HHV Water is condensed.
LHV Water is not condensed or exists completely in vapour phase.

Determination of Calorific values

Bomb calorimeter solid and liquid fuels Junkers gas calorimeter gaseous fuels

Adiabatic Flame Temperature

Adiabatic Process
No work or changes in K.E or P.E Temperature of the products

Maximum possible temperature

Adiabatic Flame Temperature

Depends on the type of reaction.
Per cent of theoretical air.

Adiabatic Flame Temperature

Increase in air-fuel ratio decreases the AFT Max AFT is the Stoiciometric mixture.