Engine performance and knock rating of fuels for high-output aircraft engines

Rothbrock, A M Biermann, Arnold E
April 1938

Data are presented to show the effects of inlet-air pressure, inlet-air temperature, and compression ratio on the maximum permissible performance obtained on a single-cylinder test engine with aircraft-engine fuels varying from a fuel of 87 octane number to one 100 octane number plus 1 ml of tetraethyl lead per gallon. The data were obtained on a 5-inch by 5.75-inch liquid-cooled engine operating at 2,500 r.p.m. The compression ratio was varied from 6.50 to 8.75. The inlet-air temperature was varied from 120 to 280 F. and the inlet-air pressure from 30 inches of mercury absolute to the highest permissible. The limiting factors for the increase in compression ratio and in inlet-air pressure was the occurrence of either audible or incipient knock. The data are correlated to show that, for any one fuel,there is a definite relationship between the limiting conditions of inlet-air temperature and density at any compression ratio. This relationship is dependent on the combustion-gas temperature and density relationship that causes knock. The report presents a suggested method of rating aircraft-engine fuels based on this relationship. It is concluded that aircraft-engine fuels cannot be satisfactorily rated by any single factor, such as octane number, highest useful compression ratio, or allowable boost pressure. The fuels should be rated by a curve that expresses the limitations of the fuel over a variety of engine conditions.

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