Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


Scott Miers


Jason Blough


The goal of the thesis "Conversion of a Micro, Glow-Ignition, Two-Stroke Engine from Nitromethane-Methanol Blend Fuel to Military Jet Propellant (JP-8)" was to demonstrate the ability to operate a small engine on JP-8 and was completed in two phases. The first phase included choosing, developing a test stand for, and baseline testing a nitromethane-methanol-fueled engine. The chosen engine was an 11.5 cc, glow-ignition, two-stroke engine designed for remote-controlled helicopters. A micro engine test stand was developed to load and motor the engine. Instrumentation specific to the low flow rates and high speeds of the micro engine was developed and used to document engine behavior. The second phase included converting the engine to operate on JP-8, completing JP-8-fueled steady-state testing, and comparing the performance of the JP-8-fueled engine to the nitromethane-methanol-fueled engine. The conversion was accomplished through a novel crankcase heating method; by heating the crankcase for an extended period of time, a flammable fuel-air mixture was generated in the crankcase scavenged engine, which greatly improved starting times. To aid in starting and steady-state operation, yttrium-zirconia impregnated resin (i.e. ceramic coating) was applied to the combustion surfaces. This also improved the starting times of the JP-8-fueled engine and ultimately allowed for a 34-second starting time. Finally, the steady-state data from both the nitromethane-methanol and JP-8-fueled micro engine were compared. The JP-8-fueled engine showed signs of increased engine friction while having higher indicated fuel conversion efficiency and a higher overall system efficiency. The minimal ability of JP-8 to cool the engine via evaporative effects, however, created the necessity of increased cooling air flow. The conclusion reached was that JP-8-fueled micro engines could be viable in application, but not without additional research being conducted on combustion phenomenon and cooling requirements.