Rapid Prediction of Fuel Research Octane Number and Octane Sensitivity Using the AFIDA Constant-Volume Combustion Chamber

Jon Luecke, Bradley Zigler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus Citations


Current research octane number (RON) and motor octane number (MON) gasoline performance characterization techniques use dated, complex engine testing methodology and limit researchers’ ability to easily characterize small volumes of experimental fuels. A novel methodology is presented that correlates measured ignition delay (ID) time to RON in an Advanced Fuel Ignition Delay Analyzer (AFIDA) constant-volume combustion chamber device at a single pressure/temperature condition, with an r2 of 0.99 and standard error (SE) of 1.0. The correlation of the slope of the ID time between two additional temperature points to octane sensitivity (S) produces an r2 of 0.97 and SE of 0.69; however, fuels with S > 12 are indistinguishable. These results are based on methodology calibration using 31 primary and toluene reference fuels containing 0%─40% ethanol with RON values ranging from 85 to 113. Validation of these methods using a 102-sample fuel matrix spanning an array of base fuels and additive chemistry designed to test the robust applicability of the method, along with pump gasoline and high-octane surrogate blend samples, demonstrates an r2 of 0.94 and SE of 1.3 for the RON correlation over all samples, whereas the equivalent S correlation produces an r2 of 0.78 and SE of 1.2 by excluding two additives, 3-pentanone and diisobutylene, which displayed poor S correlation results. This novel AFIDA analysis method can be performed in 1 h and with 40 mL of fuel, offering significant improvements in time and volume requirements over traditional techniques.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number120969
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5400-78793


  • Combustion
  • Constant-volume combustion chamber
  • Fuel
  • Gasoline
  • Octane number


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