SpringerOpen Newsletter

Receive periodic news and updates relating to SpringerOpen.

Open Access Highly Accessed Nano Express

Experimental study of combustion characteristics of nanoscale metal and metal oxide additives in biofuel (ethanol)

Matthew Jones1, Calvin H Li12*, Abdollah Afjeh1 and GP Peterson3

Author affiliations

1 Department of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering University of Toledo, Toledo, OH 43606, USA

2 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Villanova University, Villanova, PA 19085, USA

3 The G. W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:246  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-246

Published: 22 March 2011


An experimental investigation of the combustion behavior of nano-aluminum (n-Al) and nano-aluminum oxide (n-Al2O3) particles stably suspended in biofuel (ethanol) as a secondary energy carrier was conducted. The heat of combustion (HoC) was studied using a modified static bomb calorimeter system. Combustion element composition and surface morphology were evaluated using a SEM/EDS system. N-Al and n-Al2O3 particles of 50- and 36-nm diameters, respectively, were utilized in this investigation. Combustion experiments were performed with volume fractions of 1, 3, 5, 7, and 10% for n-Al, and 0.5, 1, 3, and 5% for n-Al2O3. The results indicate that the amount of heat released from ethanol combustion increases almost linearly with n-Al concentration. N-Al volume fractions of 1 and 3% did not show enhancement in the average volumetric HoC, but higher volume fractions of 5, 7, and 10% increased the volumetric HoC by 5.82, 8.65, and 15.31%, respectively. N-Al2O3 and heavily passivated n-Al additives did not participate in combustion reactively, and there was no contribution from Al2O3 to the HoC in the tests. A combustion model that utilized Chemical Equilibrium with Applications was conducted as well and was shown to be in good agreement with the experimental results.