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Combustion Chemistry

The combustion process is a chemical reaction whereby fuel is oxidized and energy
is released.

Fuels are usually composed of some compound or mixture containing carbon, C, and
hydrogen, H2.

Examples of hydrocarbon fuels are

CH4 Methane
C8H18 Octane
C16H34 Cetane

Initially, we shall consider only those reactions that go to completion. The

components prior to the reaction are called reactants and the components after the
reaction are called products.
Reactants  Products
For complete or stoichiometric combustion, all carbon is burned to carbon dioxide
(CO2) and all hydrogen is converted into water (H2O). These two complete
combustion reactions are as follows:
C  O2  CO2
H2  O2  H2 O

With one mole of oxygen, there are 79/21 = 3.76 moles of Nitrogen

Example 3.1 (John B. Heywood)
A hydrocarbon fuel of composition 84.2% by mass Carbon and 15.8% by mass
Hydrogen has a molecular mass of 114. Determine the number of moles of air required
for stoichiometric combustion and the number of moles of products produced per mole
of fuel. Calculate (A/F)S and (F/A)S , and the molecular weights of the reactants and

Equivalence Ratio Φ
The minimum amount of air needed for the complete combustion of a fuel is called the
stoichiometric or theoretical air. In actual combustion processes, it is common practice to use
more air than the stoichiometric amount. The amount of extra air than the stoichiometric is
called (excess air). Amount of air less than stoichiometric amount is called (deficiency of air).
Equivalence ratio is the ratio of the actual fuel- air ratio to the stoichiometric fuel-air ratio.
Sometimes this ratio is given in term of A/F ratio and called mixture strength.

Find the stoichiometric A/F ratio for the combustion of ethyl-alcohol (C2H5OH) in a petrol
engine. Calculate the A/F ratios for 0.9 & 1.2 equivalence ratios(ϕ). Determine the wet
and dry analyses by volume of the exhaust gas for each equivalence ratio.