Molecular Aluminum Additive for Burn Enhancement of Hydrocarbon Fuels

Philip M. Guerieri, Samantha DeCarlo, Bryan Eichhorn, Terrence Connell, Richard A. Yetter, Xin Tang, Zachary Hicks, Kit H. Bowen, Michael R. Zachariah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Additives to hydrocarbon fuels are commonly explored to change the combustion dynamics, chemical distribution, and/or product integrity. Here we employ a novel aluminum-based molecular additive, Al(I) tetrameric cluster [AlBrNEt3]4 (Et = C2H5), to a hydrocarbon fuel and evaluate the resultant single-droplet combustion properties. This Al4 cluster offers a soluble alternative to nanoscale particulate additives that have recently been explored and may mitigate the observed problems of particle aggregation. Results show the [AlBrNEt3]4 additive to increase the burn rate constant of a toluene-diethyl ether fuel mixture by ∼20% in a room temperature oxygen environment with only 39 mM of active aluminum additive (0.16 wt % limited by additive solubility). In comparison, a roughly similar addition of nano-aluminum particulate shows no discernible difference in burn properties of the hydrocarbon fuel. High speed video shows the [AlBrNEt3]4 to induce microexplosive gas release events during the last ∼30% of the droplet combustion time. We attribute this to HBr gas release based on results of temperature-programmed reaction (TPR) experiments of the [AlBrNEt3]4 dosed with O2 and D2O. A possible mechanism of burn rate enhancement is presented that is consistent with microexplosion observations and TPR results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11084-11093
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number45
StatePublished - Oct 21 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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