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An Undergraduate Educational Module on Thermodynamic Analysis of Petroleum and Bio-based Fuels in Internal Combustion Engines

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

ChemE Potpourri

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.180.1 - 25.180.7



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Paper Authors


Jeffrey R. Seay University of Kentucky

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Jeffrey R. Seay is Assistant Professor of chemical and materials engineering at the University of Kentucky, Paducah, extended program.

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David L. Silverstein University of Kentucky

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David L. Silverstein is the PJC Engineering Professor of chemical engineering at the University of Kentucky. He is assigned to the College of Engineering's Extended Campus Programs in Paducah, Ky., where he has taught for 12 years. His Ph.D. and M.S. studies in ChE were completed at Vanderbilt University, and his B.S.Ch.E. at the University of Alabama. Silverstein's research interests include conceptual learning tools and training, and he has particular interests in faculty development. He is the recipient of several ASEE awards, including the Fahein award for young faculty teaching and educational scholarship, the Cororan award for best article in the journal Chemical Engineering Education (twice), and the Martin award for best paper in the ChE Division at the ASEE Annual Meeting.

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An Undergraduate Educational Module on Thermodynamic Analysis of Petroleum and Bio-based Fuels in Internal Combustion Engines This contribution will describe a newly developed undergraduate educational module onthe Thermodynamic Analysis of Petroleum and Bio-based Fuels in Internal Combustion Engines,created as part of an AIChE Grand Energy Challenge Award. The module is designed tointroduce undergraduate Chemical Engineering students to the topic of liquid transportation fuelsgenerated from renewable and petroleum based resources from a thermodynamics prospective.Furthermore, the module will introduce students to the typical types of internal combustionengines and the thermodynamic principles behind them; provide an overview of the mostcommon petroleum and bio-based liquid transportation fuels; and introduce the concept of lifecycle assessment, as it applies to liquid transportation fuels. The module is intended as asupplement for the traditional Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics course offered at mostuniversities. The objectives of the module are for students, upon completion, to be able to: • Perform thermodynamic efficiency analyses on conventional and alternative fuel sources in Otto and Diesel cycle engines • Critically evaluate the comparative efficiency of biomass derived fuels compared to conventional fuels • Compare on an solar energy basis the produced value of biomass fuels compared with fossil fuels and other alternative fuels • Perform a life-cycle assessment on biomass derived fuels on an economic basis In addition to a complete set of PowerPoint lecture slides with instructor notes, themodule includes set of test/homework problems with solutions, solved in class-exampleproblems and a pre-/post-test to assess students understanding of the module material. Alsoincluded with the module is a self-guided student inquiry activity that utilizes an interactivespreadsheet application that simulates the performance of Diesel cycle and Otto cycle engineswith a variety of petroleum based and biobased liquid fuels under a range of engine operatingconditions. The simulator allows students to select an appropriate fuel based on engine selection,change the compression ratio, enter a cylinder volume, select an expansion ratio (for Dieselengines), and even compress the gas mixture entering the cylinder with a turbocharger.Additionally, students can also select a real production vehicle and select operational parametersto correspond to that vehicle. This contribution will further describe how this module has been integrated into anundergraduate Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics course at [author’s home institution].This work is funded by a Grand Energy Challenge Award from the American Institute ofChemical Engineers Center for Energy Initiatives.

Seay, J. R., & Silverstein, D. L. (2012, June), An Undergraduate Educational Module on Thermodynamic Analysis of Petroleum and Bio-based Fuels in Internal Combustion Engines Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20940

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