Date of Thesis


Thesis Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Chris Mordaunt

Second Advisor

Indranil Brahma


Studying liquid fuel combustion is necessary to better design combustion systems. Through more efficient combustors and alternative fuels, it is possible to reduce greenhouse gases and harmful emissions. In particular, coal-derived and Fischer-Tropsch liquid fuels are of interest because, in addition to producing fewer emissions, they have the potential to drastically reduce the United States' dependence on foreign oil. Major academic research institutions like the Pennsylvania State University perform cutting-edge research in many areas of combustion. The Combustion Research Laboratory (CRL) at Bucknell University is striving to develop the necessary equipment to be capable of both independent and collaborative research efforts with Penn State and in the process, advance the CRL to the forefront of combustion studies. The focus of this thesis is to advance the capabilities of the Combustion Research Lab at Bucknell. Specifically, this was accomplished through a revision to a previously designed liquid fuel injector, and through the design and installation of a laser extinction system for the measurement of soot produced during combustion. The previous liquid fuel injector with a 0.005" hole did not behave as expected. Through spray testing the 0.005" injector with water, it was determined that experimental errors were made in the original pressure testing of the injector. Using data from the spray testing experiment, new theoretical hole sizes of the injector were calculated. New injectors with 0.007" and 0.0085" orifices were fabricated and subsequently tested to qualitatively validate their behavior. The injectors were installed in the combustion rig in the CRL and hot-fire tested with liquid heptane. The 0.0085" injector yielded a manageable fuel pressure and produced a broad flame. A laser extinction system was designed and installed in the CRL. This involved the fabrication of a number of custom-designed parts and the specification of laser extinction equipment for purchase. A standard operating procedure for the laser extinction system was developed to provide a consistent, safe method for measuring soot formation during combustion.