Heat transfer, fluid dynamics, and autoxidation studies in the jet fuel thermal oxidation tester (JFTOT)

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.S. in Mechanical Engineering


Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Advisor: Jamie S. Ervin


Modern military aircraft use jet fuel as a coolant before it is burned in the combustor. Prior to combustion, dissolved O2 and other heteroatomic species react with the heated fuel to form insoluble particles and surface deposits that can impair engine performance. For safe aircraft operation, it is important to minimize jet fuel oxidation and resultant surface deposition in critical aircraft components. The Jet Fuel Thermal Oxidation Tester (JFTOT) is a thermal stability test that measures the tendency for fuel to form such deposits and delivers a pass/fail grade for each fuel tested. However, the extent of oxidation and the corresponding deposition occurring in the JFTOT is not fully understood. A JFTOT Model Mark II was modified to include a bulk outlet thermocouple measurement and a downstream oxygen sensor to measure bulk oxygen consumption. Experimental results show a direct relationship between the bulk outlet temperature and JFTOT setpoint temperature with the bulk outlet less than the setpoint temperature. Several fuels were also tested at varying setpoint temperatures with complete oxygen consumption by 320°C and a wide range of oxygen consumption from 10-85% at 260°C. Due to the complex fluid flows in the JFTOT, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) was used to model the heat transfer and fluid flow. A three-dimensional simulation showed considerable recirculation within the JFTOT due to buoyancy effects from gravity and resulted in complex residence time behavior. In addition, CFD simulations performed with a pseudo-detailed chemical kinematic mechanism showed an under prediction in both oxidation and deposition for similar fuels tested experimentally but yielded bulk outlet temperature predictions of less than 2% error. Simulations of deposition were of the right order of magnitude and matched the deposit profile of comparable experimental ellipsometry data.


Jet planes Fuel Oxidation, Jet planes Fuel Thermal properties, Fuel Testing, Aerospace engineering; chemical engineering; chemistry; energy; engineering; fluid dynamics; mechanical engineering; petroleum engineering; JFTOT; CFD; heat transfer; oxidation; autoxidation; deposition; ellipsometry; jet fuel thermal oxidation tester; oxygen consumption; FT; fischer tropsh; hrj; jp-8; jet a-1; thermal stability; fluid mechanics; astm d3241; flir; interferometry; udri

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