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1.

Octane Rating
Octane rating or octane number is a standard measure of the performance of a motor or aviation
fuel. The higher the octane number, the more compression the fuel can withstand before detonating. In
broad terms, fuels with a higher octane rating are used in high-compression engines that generally
have higher performance. In contrast, fuels with lower octane numbers (but higher cetane numbers)
are ideal for diesel engines. Use of gasoline with lower octane numbers may lead to the problem of
engine knocking.
Priciple

Octanes are a family of hydrocarbon that are typical components of gasoline. They are
colourless liquids that boil around 125 C (260 F). One member of the octane family,
isooctane, is used as a reference standard to benchmark the tendency of gasoline/petrol or
LPG fuels to resist self-igniting. In a normal spark-ignition engine, the air-fuel mixture is
heated due to being compressed and is then triggered to burn (relatively) slowly by the spark
plug and ignition system. If it is heated and/or compressed too much, then it will explode
when triggered (detonate), or even self-ignite before the ignition system sparks. This causes
much higher pressures than engine components are designed for and can cause a "knocking"
or "pinging" sound if light, or major engine damage if severe. This can break connecting
rods, melt pistons, blow head gaskets, damage rod bearings, as well as damage other
components. The octane rating is a measure of how resistant a fuel is to spontaneously or
explosively ignite under such conditions. The higher the number, the more resistant the fuel
is. Engines that have aggressive designs (high compression pistons, high intake density
and/or temperature) or unusual operating conditions (low-speed, air-cooled engines such as
small aircraft) require higher octane fuels.

Isooctane (upper) has an octane rating of 100 whereas n-heptane has an octane rating of 0.

The most typically used engine management systems found in automobiles today have a
knock sensor that monitors if knock is being produced by the fuel being used. In modern
computer controlled engines, the ignition timing will be automatically altered by the engine
management system to reduce the knock (detonation) to an acceptable level.
The octane rating of gasoline is measured in a test engine and is defined by comparison with
the mixture of 2,2,4-trimethylpentane (iso-octane) and heptane that would have the same antiknocking capacity as the fuel under test: the percentage, by volume, of 2,2,4-trimethylpentane

in that mixture is the octane number of the fuel. For example, petrol with the same knocking
characteristics as a mixture of 90% iso-octane and 10% heptane would have an octane rating
of 90. A rating of 90 does not mean that the petrol contains just iso-octane and heptane in
these proportions, but that it has the same detonation resistance properties. Because some
fuels are more knock-resistant than iso-octane, the definition has been extended to allow for
octane numbers greater than 100.
Octane ratings are not indicators of the energy content of fuels. (See section 4 of this page
and heating value). It is only a measure of the fuel's tendency to burn in a controlled manner,
rather than exploding in an uncontrolled manner. Where the octane number is raised by
blending in ethanol, energy content per volume is reduced. Ethanol BTUs can be compared
with gasoline BTUs in heat of combustion tables.
It is possible for a fuel to have a Research Octane Number (RON) more than 100, because
ISO-octane is not the most knock-resistant substance available. Racing fuels, avgas, LPG and
alcohol fuels such as methanol may have octane ratings of 110 or significantly higher. Typical
"octane booster" gasoline additives include MTBE, ETBE, isooctane and toluene. Lead in the
form of tetraethyllead was once a common additive, but its use for fuels for road vehicles has
been progressively phased-out worldwide, beginning in the 1970s.
Research Octane Number (RON)
The most common type of octane rating worldwide is the Research Octane Number (RON).
RON is determined by running the fuel in a test engine with a variable compression ratio
under controlled conditions, and comparing the results with those for mixtures of iso-octane
and n-heptane.
Motor Octane Number (MON)
There is another type of octane rating, called Motor Octane Number (MON), which is a
better measure of how the fuel behaves when under load, as it is determined at 900 rpm
engine speed, instead of the 600 rpm for RON. MON testing uses a similar test engine to that
used in RON testing, but with a preheated fuel mixture, higher engine speed, and variable
ignition timing to further stress the fuel's knock resistance. Depending on the composition of
the fuel, the MON of a modern gasoline will be about 8 to 10 points lower than the RON,
however there is no direct link between RON and MON. Normally, fuel specifications require
both a minimum RON and a minimum MON.
Anti-Knock Index (AKI)
In most countries, including Australia and all of those in Europe, the "headline" octane rating
shown on the pump is the RON, but in Canada, the United States, Brazil, and some other
countries, the headline number is the average of the RON and the MON, called the AntiKnock Index (AKI, and often written on pumps as (R+M)/2). It may also sometimes be
called the Pump Octane Number (PON).
Difference between RON and AKI
Because of the 8 to 10 point difference noted above, the octane rating shown in Canada and
the United States is 4 to 5 points lower than the rating shown elsewhere in the world for the

same fuel. This difference is known as the fuel's sensitivity, and is not typically published for
those countries that use the Anti-Knock Index labelling system.
See the table in the following section for a comparison.
Observed Road Octane Number (RdON)
Another type of octane rating, called Observed Road Octane Number (RdON), is derived
from testing gasolines in real world multi-cylinder engines, normally at wide open throttle. It
was developed in the 1920s and is still reliable today. The original testing was done in cars on
the road but as technology developed the testing was moved to chassis dynamometers with
environmental controls to improve consistency.
Aviation gasoline octane ratings
Gasoline used in piston aircraft common in general aviation have slightly different methods
of measuring the octane of the fuel. Similar to AKI, it has two different ratings, although it is
referred to only by the lower of the two. One is referred to as the "aviation lean" rating and is
the same as the MON of the fuel up to 100. The second is the "aviation rich" rating and
corresponds to the octane rating of a test engine under forced induction operation common in
high-performance and military piston aircraft. This utilizes a supercharger, and uses a
significantly richer fuel/air ratio for improved detonation resistance.
The most commonly used current fuel 100LL, has an aviation lean rating of 100 octane, and
an aviation rich rating of 130.
Index
The RON/MON values of n-heptane and iso-octane are exactly 0 and 100, respectively, by
the definition of octane rating. The following table lists octane ratings for various other fuels.
[8][9]

Fuel
hexadecane
n-octane
n-heptane (RON and MON 0 by definition)
diesel fuel
2-methylheptane
n-hexane
1-pentene
2-methylhexane
3-methylhexane
1-heptene
n-pentane
requirement for a typical two-stroke outboard motor[10]
Pertamina "Premium" gasoline in Indonesia
"Regular" gasoline in Japan (Japanese Industrial Standards)
n-butanol

RON
< -30
-10
0
1525
23
25
34
44
60
62
69
88
90
92

MON

AKI

23.8
26.0

26

46.4
55.0
61.9
65
78

67
83

71

83

Fuel
Neopentane (dimethylpropane)
"regular" gasoline in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the
US
Pertamina "Pertamax" gasoline in Indonesia
Shell "Super" in Indonesia
n-butane
Isopentane (methylbutane)
Pertamina "Pertamax Plus" gasoline in Indonesia
Shell "Super Extra" in Indonesia
Shell "FuelSave " in Malaysia
"EuroSuper" or "EuroPremium" or "Regular unleaded" in
Europe, "SP95" in France
"Premium" or "Super unleaded" gasoline in US (10% ethanol
blend)
Shell "V-Power 97" in Malaysia
Shell "V-Power 98", Caltex "Platinum 98 with Techron", Esso
Mobil "Synergy 8000" and SPC "LEVO 98" in Singapore
Great Britain, Slovenia and Spain, "SP98" in France
"SuperPlus" in Germany
Tesco "Momentum^99"[12] in UK
"Premium" gasoline in Japan (Japanese Industrial Standards)
Pertamina "Pertamax Racing" in Indonesia
Shell V-Power in Italy and Germany
Eni(or Agip) Blu Super +(or Tech) in Italy
IP Plus 100 in Italy
Tamoil WR 100 in Italy
San Marco Petroli F-101 in Italy(northern Italy only, just a few
gas stations)
Petro-Canada "Ultra 94" in Canada [13]
Aral Super 95 in Germany
Aral Super 95 E10 (10% Ethanol) in Germany
Aral SuperPlus 98 in Germany
Aral Ultimate 102 in Germany
IES 98 Plus in Italy
2,2-dimethylbutane
2,3-dimethylbutane

RON

MON
80.2

AKI

9192

8283

87

92
92
94[11]

82

87

90.1
90.3
85

90

95

8586

9091

97

87-88

92-93

98

8990

9394

98
98
99
100
100
100
100
100
100

8990
88
87

9394

95
95
95

97

[15]

"isooctane" (RON and MON 100 by definition)


benzene
i-butane
"BP Ultimate 102 - now discontinued"[17]
t-butanol

94

101
101.5
95
95
98
102
98

88
85
85
88
88

94

93.4
94.4
99.5
(min)

ExxonMobil Avgas 100[14]


Shell "V-Power Racing" in Australia - discontinued July 2008

88
87

100
100
101
102[16]
102
103

100

100

97.6
9394
91

9798
97

Fuel
2,3,3-trimethylpentane
ethane
2,2,3-trimethylpentane
toluene
E85 gasoline
propane
2,2,3-trimethylbutane
xylene
isopropanol
methanol
ethanol
2,5-Dimethylfuran
methane
hydrogen

RON
106.1[18]
108
109.6[18]
121
102-105
112
112.1[18]
118
118
108.7[20]
108.6[20]
119
120
> 130

MON
99.4[18]

AKI
103

99.9[18]
105
107
114
85-87 94-96[19]
97
101.3[18]
106
115
116.5
98
108
[20]
88.6
98.65
[20]
89.7
99.15
120

120

2. Cetane Number
Cetane number or CN is a measurement of the combustion quality of diesel fuel during compression
ignition. It is a significant expression diesel fuel. A number of other measurements determine overall
diesel fuel quality - measures of diesel fuel quality include density, lubricity, cold-flow properties and
sulfur content.

Cetane number or CN is a measure of a fuel's ignition delay, the time period between the start
of injection and the first identifiable pressure increase during combustion of the fuel. In a

particular diesel engine, higher cetane fuels will have shorter ignition delay periods than
lower cetane fuels. Cetane numbers are only used for the relatively light distillate diesel oils.
For heavy (residual) fuel oil two other scales are used CCAI and CII.
In short, the higher the cetane number the more easily the fuel will combust in a compression
setting (such as a diesel engine). The characteristic diesel "knock" occurs when the first
portion of fuel that has been injected into the cylinder suddenly ignites after an initial delay.
Minimizing this delay results in less unburned fuel in the cylinder at the beginning and less
intense knock. Therefore higher-cetane fuel usually causes an engine to run more smoothly
and quietly. This does not necessarily translate into greater efficiency, although it may in
certain engines.

Measuring cetane number


Accurate measurements of the cetane number is rather difficult, as it requires burning the fuel
in a rare diesel engine called a Cooperative Fuel Research (CFR) engine, under standard test
conditions. The operator of the CFR engine uses a hand-wheel to increase the compression
ratio (and therefore the peak pressure within the cylinder) of the engine until the time
between fuel injection and ignition is 2.407ms. The resulting cetane number is then calculated
by determining which mixture of cetane (hexadecane) and isocetane (2,2,4,4,6,8,8heptamethylnonane) will result in the same ignition delay.
Ignition quality tester
Another reliable method of measuring the derived cetane number of diesel fuel is the Ignition
Quality Tester (IQT). This instrument applies a simpler, more robust approach to CN
measurement than the CFR. Fuel is injected into a constant volume combustion chamber in
which the ambient temperature is approximately 575 C. The fuel combusts, and the high rate
of pressure change within the chamber defines the start of combustion. The ignition delay of
the fuel can then be calculated as the time difference between the start of fuel injection and
the start of combustion. The fuel's derived cetane number can then be calculated using an
empirical inverse relationship to ignition delay.
Fuel ignition tester
Another reliable method of measuring the derived cetane number of diesel fuel is the Fuel
Ignition Tester (FIT). This instrument applies a simpler, more robust approach to CN
measurement than the CFR. Fuel is injected into a constant volume combustion chamber in
which the ambient temperature is approximately 575 C. The fuel combusts, and the high rate
of pressure change within the chamber defines the start of combustion. The ignition delay of
the fuel can then be calculated as the time difference between the start of fuel injection and
the start of combustion. The fuel's derived cetane number can then be calculated using an
empirical inverse relationship to ignition delay.
Cetane index

Another method that fuel-users control quality is by using the cetane index (CI), which is a
calculated number based on the density and distillation range of the fuel. There are various
versions of this, depending on whether you use metric or Imperial units, and how many
distillation points are used. These days most oil companies use the '4-point method', ASTM
D4737, based on density, 10% 50% and 90% recovery temperatures. The '2-point method' is
defined in ASTM D976, and uses just density and the 50% recovery temperature. This 2point method tends to overestimate cetane index and is not recommended. Cetane index
calculations can not account for cetane improver additives and therefore do not measure total
cetane number for additized diesel fuels. Diesel engine operation is primarily related to the
actual cetane number and the cetane index is simply an estimation of the base (unadditized)
cetane number.
Industry standards
The industry standards for measuring cetane number are ASTM D-613 (ISO 5165) for the
CFR engine, D-6890 for the IQT, and D-7170 for the FIT.