Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Fuel Additive Could Lead to Safer Jet Fuel

Fuel Additive Could Lead to Safer Jet Fuel: Airplane accidents are especially dangerous because jet fuel is highly flammable under crash conditions. On impact, jet fuel is dispersed in the air as a fine mist, which triggers a sequence of events that can lead to a fire engulfing an entire plane.

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managed by Caltech, have been working on additives that inhibit the formation of this highly flammable mist during collisions. These additives are based on long molecules called polymers.

"This research is about making fuel safer and saving lives," said Project Manager Virendra Sarohia, based at JPL.

A new Caltech-led study in the journal Science describes polymers that could increase the safety of jet fuel and diesel fuel, particularly in the event of collision or a deliberate attempt to create a fuel explosion as part of a terrorist attack.