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Developing Fuels

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Developing Fuels Petrol is made up of alkanes, which are a type of hydrocarbon. These alkanes have carbon atoms connected four times to other carbon or hydrogen atoms by singular covalent bonds, and are therefore saturated. Alkanes have different structures. Some have a chain of carbons with hydrogens connected to them. They are called chain alkanes. Others have carbons interconnecting and are called branched alkanes. Petrol has short-chained alkanes and branched alkanes as these have high octane numbers. This means that, when the alkanes are put under pressure they explode smoothly and don't cause the engine to knock. If an alkane had an octane no. of 90 then it knocks the same amount as a mixture of 90% methylcyclohexane (knocks very little) and 10% n-heptane (knocks a lot). Petrol originally had mainly long chained alkanes. Therefore , as some alkanes have the same formula but different structures, they can be changed into other alkanes during isomerisation. ...read more.


The pollutants, which are released after petrol is burnt, are Carbon dioxide, Carbon monoxide, Sulphur oxide, Nitrogen monoxide and other various hydrocarbons. These are formed from the waste products of the petrol and the air that helped cause the petrol to explode. The reactions that take place in the engine are shown below : Ordinarily, nitrogen won't react with oxygen. However, inside the combustion engine, temperature can rise up to 1,200 C. These exhaust emissions are very harmful to the environment and can cause both acid rain and also photochemical smog. This is created when two of the pollutants from the car engine, nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbons, mix with oxygen, water vapour and sunlight. The final product is called ozone. This ozone is part of the smog. The smog causes haziness, poor visibility, eye and nose irritation and breathing difficulties for asthmatics, the young and the old. To stop these pollutants adding to this smog, laws were drawn up to reduce emissions. ...read more.


and this fact coupled with the possibility of a end to the supply of oil have left people looking for alternatives to the combustion engine to run cars. One suggestion has been to use methanol instead of other engines as it produces fewer pollutants than other hydrocarbons, it has a high octane rating so a smooth burn would be available and it's cheap to change the engine and petrol pump and also to produce. However, when mixed with ordinary petrol, it won't mix without a solvent to help. Also, the mixture absorbs moisture and then corrodes the engine. The other option is to use hydrogen. The hydrogen could be used by creating protons and electrons. The protons would move to one side of a partially permeable membrane creating a potential difference across this membrane. Oxygen could then be used to link the protons and neutrons via electrolysis. This process would cause a flow of electrons, which could power the engine. The by-product is water, which is clean. Either way, the future looks cleaner for the engine. ...read more.

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