Off-campus Michigan Tech users: To download campus access theses or dissertations, please use the following button to log in with your Michigan Tech ID and password: log in to proxy server

Non-Michigan Tech users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis or dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

First Advisor

Abhijit Mukherjee


Jeffrey Donald Naber


Since the advent of automobiles, alcohol has been considered a possible engine fuel1,2. With the recent increased concern about the high price of crude oil due to fluctuating supply and demand and environmental issues, interest in alcohol based fuels has increased2,3. However, using pure alcohols or blends with conventional fuels in high percentages requires changes to the engine and fuel system design2. This leads to the need for a simple and accurate conventional fuels-alcohol blends combustion models that can be used in developing parametric burn rate and knock combustion models for designing more efficient Spark Ignited (SI) engines.

To contribute to this understanding, numerical simulations were performed to obtain detailed characteristics of Gasoline-Ethanol blends with respect to Laminar Flame Speed (LFS), autoignition and Flame-Wall interactions. The one-dimensional premixed flame code CHEMKIN® was applied to simulate the burning velocity and autoignition characteristics using the freely propagating model and closed homogeneous reactor model respectively. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) was used to obtain detailed flow, temperature, and species fields for Flame-wall interactions.

A semi-detailed validated chemical kinetic model for a gasoline surrogate fuel developed by Andrae and Head4 was used for the study of LFS and Autoignition. For the quenching study, a skeletal chemical kinetic mechanism of gasoline surrogate, having 50 species and 174 reactions was used. The surrogate fuel was defined as a mixture of pure n-heptane, isooctane, and toluene. For LFS study, the ethanol volume fraction was varied from 0 to 85%, initial pressure from 4 to 8 bar, initial temperature from 300 to 900K, and dilution from 0 to 32%. Whereas for Autoignition study, the ethanol volume fraction was varied between 0 to 85%, initial pressure was varied between 20 to 60 bar, initial temperature was varied between 800 to 1200K, and the dilution was varied between 0 to 32% at equivalence ratios of 0.5, 1.0 and 1.5 to represent the in-cylinder conditions of a SI engine. For quenching study three Ethanol blends, namely E0, E25 and E85 are described in detail at an initial pressure of 8 atm and 17 atm. Initial wall temperature was taken to be 400 K. Quenching thicknesses and heat fluxes to the wall were computed.

The laminar flame speed was found to increase with ethanol concentration and temperature but decrease with pressure and dilution. The autoignition time was found to increase with ethanol concentration at lower temperatures but was found to decrease marginally at higher temperatures. The autoignition time was also found to decrease with pressure and equivalence ratio but increase with dilution. The average quenching thickness was found to decrease with an increase in Ethanol concentration in the blend. Heat flux to the wall increased with increase in ethanol percentage in the blend and at higher initial pressures. Whereas the wall heat flux decreased with an increase in dilution. Unburned Hydrocarbon (UHC) and CO % was also found to decrease with ethanol concentration in the blend.