Naphthalene and Soot Emissions in Jet Engines

Particulate emissions from aviation are a growing area of interest, particularly with regards to the potential contribution to climate change via radiative forcing and the health risks associated with high levels of particular matter. Naphthalene has been shown to be a key precursor to particulates such as black carbon and soot. As such, it is of interest to determine the degree to which naphthalene contributes to soot emissions in jet engines.

We are using RMG to develop models for the formation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from a mixture of aromatic and aliphatic compounds with varying concentrations of naphthalene. These models can then be used in flame simulations with the goal of correlating naphthalene concentration with PAH formation. The formation of larger PAHs including three or four aromatic rings will be a good predictor of the soot emissions of the real fuel.

This work in in collaboration with the Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment at MIT. Using the information gathered from the chemistry model, they will perform life cycle analysis to determine the feasibility and effects of regulating naphthalene removal from jet fuel.

This work is made possible by funding from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Environment and Energy under Project 39 of the ASCENT Center of Excellence under grant 13-C-AJFE-MIT Amendment No. 026.