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Click here to see links to several websites of interest.

Question: Do the Shatox petroleum analyzers work with bio-fuels such as Ethanol or Bio-Diesel?

Answer: Current models of Shatox analyzer do not reliably recognize bio-fuel mixtures. Shatox is working hard to expand their products to work with bio-fuels. Shatox is expecting to release new firmware updates soon for the Octane/Cetane analyzers to address gasoline/ethanol blends. Efforts to include other bio-fuels will follow.

Question: What does Octane Rating mean?

Answer: Depending on how the word is used means a lot.

Technically "Octane" is a reference to Iso-octane, a chemical that is used in gasoline blending. Iso-octane is used to inhibit the fuel mixture in the engine's cylinder from pre-igniting, which means to stop the fuel from exploding before the spark plug fires. If the mixture explodes or pre-ignites, it will actually work against the power of the engine and reduces power.

The term "Octane Rating" is more commonly use in relation to the quality of gasoline. It tells you how much the fuel can be compressed before it spontaneously ignites. When gas ignites by compression rather than because of the spark from the spark plug, it causes knocking in the engine. Knocking can damage an engine, so it is not something you want to have happening. Lower-octane gas (like "regular" 87-octane gasoline) can handle the least amount of compression before igniting.

The compression ratio of your engine really determines the octane rating of the gasoline you need to use. One way to increase the horsepower of an engine of a given displacement is to increase its compression ratio. So a "high-performance engine" has a higher compression ratio and requires higher-octane fuel. The advantage of a high compression ratio is that it gives your engine a higher horsepower rating for a given engine weight -- that is what makes the engine "high performance." The disadvantage is that the gasoline for your engine costs more.

More detailed explanation of "Octane Rating" can be found at this link to wikipedia.org

Octane rating test methods employ the use of several different types of equipment including:

Question: How much energy is contained in fuel?

Answer: Measured using the "British Thermal Unit" (BTU), here are the estimated values obtained from the U.S. Department of Interior's web site as well as other sources.

We found a very good explanation of how typical racing fuels produce power as well as a comparison of these fuels energy content at: http://www.smokemup.com/tech/fuels.php

Crude Oil = 5,800,000 BTUs/barrel

Diesel Fuel (petroleum based) = 138,700 BTUs/gallon

Kerosene = 135,000 BTUs/gallon

Jet Fuel = 130,000 BTUs/gallon

Bio-diesel (B20)= 128,000 BTUs/gallon

Gasoline = 125,000 BTUs/gallon

Aviation Fuel (Avgas) = 125,000 BTUs/gallon

Question: What is Stoichiometric Combustion?

Answer: "Stoichiometric" or "Theoretical "Combustion" is the ideal combustion process during which any fuel is burned completely. In gasoline, complete combustion is a process which burns all the carbon (C) to (CO2), all hydrogen (H) to (H2O) and all sulphur (S) to (SO2). If there are unburned components in the exhaust gas such as C, H2, CO the combustion process is incomplete.

Question: What is Cetane?

Answer: Cetane is a measurement of diesel fuel's ability to auto-ignite. Since diesel engines do not use spark plugs for combustion, they rely on the ability of the fuel to combust when compressed. The higher the cetane value the easier the fuel auto-ignites, producing more power.

Useful Links:
National Bio-diesel Board - www.biodiesel.org

American Coalition for Ethanol - www.ethanol.org

Fuel Comparison: Gasoline, Methanol, Nitromethane www.smokemup.com/tech/fuels.php

US Department of Energy - www.energy.gov


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