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Thermochemical Characterization of Biodiesel Fuels using a Novel Laser-Heating Technique



Cary Presser, Ashot Nazarian, Thomas J. Bruno, Jacolin A. Murray, John L. Molloy


A state-of-the-art, rapid laser-heating technique, referred to as the laser-driven thermal reactor, was used to characterize National Institute of Standards and Technology Standard Reference Material (SRM) diesel and biodiesel fuels. Also described are the various issues associated with carrying out these measurements under different operating conditions (i.e., temperatures, pressures, heating rates, and sample masses). The technique provides quantitative measurements of various relevant thermochemical properties, however, for this investigation the focus was on the sample endothermic/exothermic behavior, specific heat/energy release, and total heat value. The experimental apparatus consists of a copper sphere-shaped reactor mounted within a vacuum chamber, along with integrated optical, gas-supply, and computer-controlled data-acquisition subsystems. At the center of the reactor, the sample rests on a thermocouple. The reactor is heated from opposing sides by a near-infrared laser to achieve nearly uniform sample temperature. The change in sample temperature with time (i.e., thermal signature) is recorded and then processed (using an equation for thermal energy conservation) for the thermochemical information of interest. These measurements provide preliminary evaluation of SRM biodiesel fuels with application for alternative aviation fuels. The results were also consistent with the distillation curve work reported in the literature.
Energy and Fuels


alternative fuels, biodiesel, diesel, laser heating technique, thermal energy release


Presser, C. , Nazarian, A. , Bruno, T. , Murray, J. and Molloy, J. (2015), Thermochemical Characterization of Biodiesel Fuels using a Novel Laser-Heating Technique, Energy and Fuels (Accessed May 18, 2024)


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Created August 4, 2015, Updated June 2, 2021