Perfect Combustion

Perfect combustion is obtained by mixing and burning the correct proportions of fuel and oxygen so that nothing other than the combustion product is left over. The chemically correct ratio of oxygen (or air) to fuel that produces perfect combustion is referred to as the stoichiometric ratio, or stoichiometric air-fuel ratio (AFR).

• If more oxygen than the stoichiometric amount (excess air) is used in the process, the air-fuel mixture is considered "lean" and the fire is "oxidizing." The flame produced tends to be shorter and clearer.

• If more fuel than the stoichiometric quantity (not enough oxygen) is used in the process, the mixture is considered "rich" and the fire is "reducing." This results in a flame that tends to be longer and sometimes smoky. It is sometimes referred to as incomplete combustion because not all of the fuel gets enough oxygen to burn completely. One of the results can be the formation of carbon monoxide.

Lambda (K) is the ratio of actual combustion AFR to the stoichiometric AFR. At the stoichiometric point, lambda is 1.0. At fuel rich conditions, lambda is less than 1.0, while at fuel lean conditions, lambda is greater than 1.0. The inverse of lambda is the fuel-air equivalence ratio (^). This expresses the ratio of the actual fuel-air ratio to the stoichiometric ratio. An equivalence ratio for fuel-lean combustion is less than 1.0, and an equivalence ratio for fuel-rich combustion is greater than 1.0.

Guide to Alternative Fuels

Guide to Alternative Fuels

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