Asked in EngineeringFossil FuelsAir PollutionElements and Compounds
What is Effect of cerium oxide on fuel?
September 13, 2011 3:35PM
The cerium oxide is inert. The point when it becomes interesting is at higher temperatures when it can oxidize carbon for example at temperature much lower than the carbon will usually burn. Another useful property is that it will reduce nitrogen oxides and take the oxygen to form its ceric oxide state. This is used in car catalysts due to good efficiency and favorable price. Yet another use - which can be derived from wikipedia information already is chemical reaction with laughing gas - N2O to form really strong, orange oxidiser (NH4)2Ce(NO3)6 - ceric ammonium nitrate. I plan to test it in a rocket engine fuel soon.
Just to note - many combustion processes, whether in furnace, cars, rockets can not be enhanced, taken more power from them, because of the limited speed of reaction. That is where catalysts take place. Ceric oxide can act as a catalyst. When reacted with certain nitrous oxides it can take form of another chemical composition which acts as a strong oxidiser potentially increasing the speed of the reaction even further.
It is said that the east German racers used ceric oxide fuel additive to improve combustion of their vehicles on some races and thus cheated, but closer information on their setup is hard to find. In general ceric oxide will improve combustion if the combustion has tendency to form carbon particles, like in diesel engines or race engines with high fuel:air ratio.
The maximum surface area of ceric oxide nano-powders ranges from 35-70 square meters per gram of the powder. Ordinary polishing powders do not have such large surface area since they are aimed for polishing, not as a catalyst.
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