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A unique setting for the research of combustion reaction is being built at Samara University

At Samara National Research University in the frame of mega-grant given by the government of the Russian Federation an experimental setting for combustion reaction research is being created. This work is being done under the guidance of Prof. Alexandre Mebel, International University of Florida. As a result of the research the team of the scholars will suggest to engineers of engines physically justified models of combustion for construction of principally new ecological and energy-efficient combustion chambers for gas-turbine engines.
The task of the laboratory under the leadership of Alexandre Mebel is to develop physically justified models of combustion on the ground of the received new data about the chemical processes of combustion and characteristics of flames.
The project is aimed at the solution of an actual problem, i.e. prevention of environmental pollution. The international norms for emission of harmful exhausts are becoming more and more rigid and for the provision of competitive ability of Russian producers new ecologically pure technologies of combustion are necessary.
"It is important to minimize the formation of soot, carcinogenic substances at the stage of projecting of combustion engines, diesel, gas turbines, aviation and rocket engines. To minimize them it is necessary to understand how they are formed. For this in the frame of work at mega-grant we are researching the corresponding fundamental mechanisms", - Alexandre Mebel explained.
According to the scholar the laboratory which is being created for the solution of these tasks in its level of equipment and qualification of participants will be one of the best in the world. The uniqueness of the laboratory is that there will be realized the completed cycle of research of combustion processes starting with elementary atom-molecule collisions to the developments of ecologically pure and energy-efficient combustion technologies.
A new experimental setting for research of combustion reactions will be built in the laboratory. "There are only three such settings in the world – in the USA (Berkeley and Hawaii) and in China (Hefei), - Prof. of the International University of Florida explained. – For construction of the 4th setting at Samara University equipment is being bought now: turbo molecular pumps which allow to provide high vacuum (from Japan), mass-spectrometer (from the USA), and the necessary laser system are already at disposal of Samara University RES "Physics of Nonequilibrium Open Systems" and RES "Gas-dynamic Research".
The scholars will begin the assembly of the experimental setting in early summer of 2018 to demonstrate the first results of experiments the following autumn.
Now the laboratory team is engaged with theoretical calculations which touch the mechanisms of reactions of aromatic hydrocarbons with different oxidizers. "In the frame of experiments, we plan to add ozone as an oxidizer along with the oxygen, this will aid more efficient and quick combustion", - Alexandre Mebel gave an example. One of the last scientific articles of the laboratory on this theme came out in May 2017 in the leading journal on the problems of combustion "Combustion and Flame" indexed in Scopus and Web of Science. In this work quantum-chemical calculations and derived equations for the chemical reaction rates are given and can be used for modelling of the flame performance.
The scholars will study in detail the elementary atom-molecule processes during which harmful substances are formed and destroyed in combustion chambers of different types. Alexandre Mebel is particularly interested in the processes of formation and oxidation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). He has been in the study of the processes of oxidation of hydrocarbon rings for more than 20 years.
"Earlier the understanding of the mechanisms of elementary reactions on the molecular level was absent. Only when the first fast computers appeared, i.e. in the last 50 years, it became possible to make molecular calculations which are interesting not only for theorists, but for the practicing specialists as well. And now, for example, we can rather precisely calculate molecules consisting of 200 atoms", - Alexandre Mebel explained.
During the work at the mega-grant the scholars are also to calculate under what conditions chemical reactions lead to the full combustion of energy-efficient products. This is necessary for the new combustion chambers to be more energy-efficient and work with a greater efficiency rate than now.
After all the necessary theoretical calculations and predictions are made by the scholars, computer models of combustion will be checked during an experiment. Laser settings will be used for this. After experimental proof of the correctness and precision the received combustion models (which will allow to calculate the flame performance in different combustion chambers) will be passed to engineers of engines for constructing the optimal configuration of engine combustion chambers.
"We are in the fundamental science on the ground of which we can develop combustion models of air-fuel mixture which allow the engineers to project new real models of engines. This is the main purpose of the mega-grant", - Alexandre Mebel added.
The scholar believes that the transfer to the principally new ecological gas-turbine engines is the question of 5-10 years: "The models of engines become more and more modern. It is important for the level of research at university to be up to the international standards. The strengthening of Samara University positions in this direction of research is also one of the aims of the mega-grant over which we are working".
For reference
In September 2016 Samara University became the winner of the Russian government competition on receiving the mega-grants on the topic "Development of physically justified combustion models" in the frame of the state support of scientific research. The scholars began to carry out research on the mega-grant theme in 2017 and will continue till 2009. For realization of the mega-grant International scientific laboratory "Physics and Chemistry of Combustion" is created under the guidance of Prof. Alexandre Mebel, International University of Florida. The results of the research carried by Samara University scholars in close cooperation both with international and Russian scientific centres will contribute to creation of more ecological and effective combustion chambers of gas-turbine engines.
Photo: Ekaterina Vinokurova (photo club Illuminator)