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Hydrocarbon liquids, such as distillate fuels (gasoline, diesel fuel, and jet fuel), kerosene, and solvents undergo reactions in the presence of oxygen. These reactions, called autoxidation, increase with temperature and result in the formation of oxidized products (gums, tars, particulates) causing the fuel to fail under thermal stress. Additives for jet fuel have been developed which significantly increase the thermal stability of the fuel, preventing the formation of deposits which result from fuel oxidation within aircraft fuel systems but these chemicals fail at temperatures above 425° F.
Air Force scientists have discovered an innovative approach to modifying fuel-chemistry that addresses these fundamental limits imposed by high-temperature chemistry. Their approach utilizes nanoscopic core-shell material additives to produce high thermal stability in jet aviation fuels. The nanometer dimensions of these core-shell material additives provide extremely large surface areas to promote chemical reactivity while permitting suspension in liquid fuels and providing unlimited access to all components of an aircraft fuel system.
The nanoscopic core-shell material additives are designed to achieve the maximum heat-load capacity or heat sink of a typical middle-distillate kerosene-aviation fuel, e.g., (Jet A/A-1, JP-8 type fuel). This maximum value is defined by the onset of pyrolysis (the breaking of carbon-carbon bonds due to thermal excitation) which occurs at ˜900° F Current heat-sink capabilities are constrained by thermal-oxidative-decomposition processes, limiting fuel temperatures to 325° F for JP-8 and 425° F for JP-8+100. The ability to take the fuel to 900° F would provide a heat-sink advantage that is an approximate five-fold increase over JP-8. Such a capability is critical to enabling Mach 4 speeds.
- Low temperature stability
- Delays oxidation of the fuel at high temperatures
- Businesses can license US patent 7,976,589 for commercial uses, products
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- Potential for collaboration with Air Force researchers