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Title: On the use of hydrogen peroxide in ignition systems bioinspiration from the bombardier beetle
Author: Prongidis, Andreas
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2011
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A novel ignition system was studied experimentally, in which small volumes of hydrogen peroxide -of the order of pl/s- were injected at the immediate site of ignition, during the firing of a focus discharge igniter (FDI). Initially, the new ignition system was evaluated at an atmospheric expansion rig in the Mechanical Engineering of Leeds University. Afterwards, experiments were undertaken in an atmospheric testing facility with an industrial Rolls-Royce Olympus combustion chamber using kerosene Jet-A1 as the fuel and atmospheric air as the oxidizer. The study concentrated on the determination of the lean ignition limits o f the kerosene-air mixture at various air mass flow rates with and without the addition of H20 2. Notable improvements, from 6.5% to 44%, in the ignition limits of the fuel-air mixture were attainable by using only a maximum amount o f 10.8pl/s o f H20 2 during only the ignition process. The study suggests that these improvements are directly related to the increase in the ignition efficiency of the ignitor, by radical enhancement through the injection of the H20 2 plasma medium. Comparisons were made, between a fuel atomiser that was in normal service and of the same device but washed, in order to test the igniter’s ability to initiate combustion under poor and high fuel spray qualities (FSQ). The results indicate an enhanced improvement in the ignitability limits during poor air-fuel mixing quality when using the H20 2 as described above. A biodiesel fuel was also selected to test the effect that the new ignitor system has in a low-volatility fuel. The question of how to create the small amounts of hydrogen peroxide that will be used for ignition was also approached. An idea of producing the required H20 2 came by studying the bombardier’s beetle unique mechanism which produces H20 2 for defending itself from predators. Simulation work using Chemkin was conducted to investigate the production o f H20 2 by passing hydrocarbon fuels through a catalyst. When passing propane-air through a platinum/ rhodium catalyst the simulations show that H20 2 production is possible in rates enough to supply the proposed novel ignition system. A more specialised study in the chemistry of the production of H20 2, from gas-turbine fuels, is suggested. A cost effective method o f an onsite H20 2 production in small amounts would be an ideal topic for further study.
Supervisor: McIntosh, Andy C. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available