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ELLIPSOMETRIC MEASUREMENTS OF THE THERMAL STABILITY OF ALTERNATIVE FUELS

[+] Author and Article Information
Leigh Nash

Center for Advanced Turbomachinery and Energy Research (CATER), Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Central Florida, Orlando 32816, Florida, USA
leighn2010@knights.ucf.edu

Jennifer Klettlinger

NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH 44135, USA
j.klettlinger@nasa.gov

Subith Vasu

Center for Advanced Turbomachinery and Energy Research (CATER), Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Central Florida, Orlando 32816, Florida, USA
subith@ucf.edu

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4036961 History: Received April 14, 2017; Revised April 18, 2017

Abstract

Thermal stability is an important characteristic of alternative fuels that must be evaluated before they can be used in aviation engines. Thermal stability refers to the degree to which a fuel breaks down when it is heated prior to combustion. This characteristic is of great importance to the effectiveness of the fuel as a coolant and to the engine’s combustion performance. The thermal stability of Sasol IPK, a synthetic alternative to Jet-A, with varying levels of naphthalene has been studied on aluminum and stainless steel substrates at 300 to 400 °C. This was conducted using a spectroscopic ellipsometer to measure the thickness of deposits left on the heated substrates. Ellipsometry is an optical technique that measures the changes in a light beam’s polarization and intensity after it reflects from a thin film to determine the film’s physical and optical properties. It was observed that, as would be expected, increasing the temperature minimally increased the deposit thickness for a constant concentration of naphthalene on both substrates. The repeatability of these measurements was verified using multiple trials at identical test conditions. Lastly, the effect of increasing the naphthalene concentration at a constant temperature was found to also minimally increase the deposit thickness.

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