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    Relationship Between Specific Gravity and Other Fuel Properties and Diesel Engine Performance

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    Although a low fuel consumption is an inherent feature of the diesel engine, operators are always looking for improvement to reduce operating costs. Since fuel is usually bought on a volumetric basis, an obvious way to improve fuel consumption would appear to be to use fuels of high specific gravity. However, the specific gravity of a diesel fuel is not an independent variable, and an increase in specific gravity will probably result in an attendant increase in the mid-boiling point of the fuel and, possibly, a decrease in the cetane number. Also, in general, a fuel of high specific gravity will have high cloud and pour points. It is suggested that for best over-all performance of a diesel engine with respect to cold starting, cold smoking, misfiring, noise and black-smoke emission, a reasonably volatile fuel of moderately high cetane number is required and that these requirements preclude the use of a fuel of high specific gravity. In cold weather, fuels of low cloud point are required although, if careful attention is paid to the designs of a vehicle fuel system, the limit of operability may well be the pour point. The design of the fuel system is particularly important if the full benefit of pour-point-depressant additives is to be realized.


    diesel fuels, fuel oils, specific gravity, diesel engines, fuel consumption, volatility, cetane number, cloud point, pour point, cold starting, smoke, misfire, noise, fuel systems, fuel additives

    Author Information:

    Troth, K. A.
    “Shell” Research Ltd., Chester, U. K.

    Committee/Subcommittee: D02.E0

    DOI: 10.1520/STP46055S