Laminar burning characteristics of ethyl propionate, ethyl butyrate, ethyl acetate, gasoline and ethanol fuels

Tawfik Badawy, Jake Williamson, Hongming Xu

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35 Citations (Scopus)
383 Downloads (Pure)


Ethyl esters have been considered as promising second-generation biofuel candidates, due to the available production from low grade biomass waste. Furthermore, with desirable energy densities, emissions performance, low solubility and higher Research Octane Number (RON), ethyl esters have proven attractive as fuel additives or alternatives for gasoline. In this study, high-speed schlieren photography was used to investigate the laminar burning characteristics of three ethyl ester fuels: ethyl acetate, ethyl propionate, and ethyl butyrate, in comparison with gasoline and ethanol at different initial temperatures and a variety of equivalence ratios, with an initial pressure of 0.1??MPa in a constant-volume vessel. For the five fuels, the stretched flame speeds, the un-stretched flame speeds, Markstein lengths, Markstein number, laminar burning velocities and laminar burning flux were calculated and analysed using the outwardly spherical flame method. The results show that for all examined initial temperatures (60????C, 90????C and 120????C) and equivalence ratios; ethanol had the highest un-stretched flame propagation speeds, whilst ethyl acetate (EA) had the lowest. At high initial temperatures (120????C), it was observed that the un-stretched flame speed trends of ethyl propionate (EP) and ethyl butyrate (EB) proved faster compared to gasoline, especially for rich conditions. The EB and EA flames demonstrated greater stability when compared to ethanol, EP, and gasoline. Analysis showed that ethanol yielded the fastest flame velocities, whilst EA consistently had the lowest among all the five fuels. The laminar burning velocities of the EP fuel were faster compared to EB and EA, whilst slower than ethanol and gasoline at 60????C. Further increase of the initial temperature, up to 120????C, showed the laminar flame speed of EP and EB to be faster than gasoline, indicating a fast-burning property, and potential of improving engine thermal efficiency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-640
Number of pages14
Early online date5 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • Ethyl acetate
  • Ethyl butyrate
  • Ethyl propionate
  • Laminar burning velocity
  • Schlieren optical method


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