Vegetable Oils as Alternative Diesel Fuels: Degradation of Pure Triglycerides During the Precombustion Phase in a Reactor Simulating a Diesel Engine
Vegetable oils are candidates for alternative fuels in diesel engines. These oils, such as soybean, sunflower, rapeseed, cottonseed, and peanut, consist of various triglycerides. The chemistry of the degradation of vegetable oils when used as alternate diesel fuels thus corresponds to that of triglycerides. To study the chemistry occurring during the precombustion phase of a vegetable oil injected into a diesel engine, a reactor simulating a diesel engine was constructed. Pure triglycerides were injected into the reactor in order to determine differences in the precombustion behavior of the various triglycerides. The reactor allowed motion pictures to be prepared of the injection event as the important reaction parameters, such as pressure, temperature, and atmosphere were varied. Furthermore, samples of the degradation products of precombusted triglycerides were collected and analyzed (gas chromatography / mass spectrometry).