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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Philip C Malte
M E 424
Seattle Campus

Combustion Systems and Pollutant Formation

Combustion theory, including chemical thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, mixing and diffusion, and flame structure. Combustion chamber design concepts and performance. Pollutant formation and combustion methods for minimizing pollutant formation. Prerequisite: M E 323; recommended: M E 331; M E 333.

Class description

Correction regarding prerequites: - The prerequisite is ME 323 (Thermodynamics), as shown. - An other thermodynamics course, such as CHEM E 260, is OK. - ME 333 (Fluid Mechanics), or an other fluids course, is recommended. - ME 331 (Heat Transfer) is not required.

Textbook for SpQ06: - No textbook has been assigned for SpQ06. Instead: - The ME 323 textbook by Cengel and Boles will be used to cover Combustion Thermodynamics and Chemical Equilibrium. These topics will be taught over the first 2-3 weeks of the course. - Instructor's notes will be provided for the other topics and parts of the course.

Learning in this course is focused on combustion science and technology, including pollutant emissions from combustion systems. The student learns how to estimate the performance (ie, the heat or power output and efficiency) and pollutant emissions of combustion systems, using three methods of engineering analysis of increasing sophistication. The methods are: 1) control volume energy and chemical balances, 2) thermochemical equilibrium, and 3) chemical kinetics. Thermodynamic and chemistry principles underlying these analysis methods are taught. Next, the student learns about the types of flames, including laminar premixed flames, turbulent premixed flames, and non-premixed diffusion flames, and how these flame types are used in practical combustion systems. The design of practical combustors is discussed, including heating furnaces, electrical-utility furnaces, engine combustors, and specialty combustors. Solid fuel combustion techniques, including those for coal and biomass, are discussed. Latest developments in combustion technology are examined. Examples include combustors that emit virtually zero pollutants, and combustion systems with air separation so that the exhaust CO2 can be separated and sequestered. The student is reminded of humankind's huge dependency on combustion - about 85% of all energy used by humankind involves combustion and most of the world's population has been impacted by combustion effluents.

This course, and ME 430 in the autumn quarter and ME 442 in the winter quarter, provide the student with a very good understanding of energy conversion and with the skills necessary to conduct engineering analysis of energy systems.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

This course is taught with three one-hour lectures and one two-hour laboratory each week. The lectures cover the main principles and practices of combustion, and include class discussion. The laboratory involves the use of commercial and bench-top burners to explore combustion system and flame behavior and pollutant emissions. Five experiments are conducted over the quarter. Assignments involve homework, write-ups of the laboratory experience, a mid-term exam, and a final exam.

Recommended preparation

The prerequisite for this course is ME 323, the thermodynamics course required of UW ME undergraduates. An alternative thermodynamics can be substituted. It is also recommended for students enrolling in the course to have some understanding of fluid mechanics. ME 333, the fluid mechanics course required of UW ME undergraduates, or other instruction on fluid mechanics, should be taken before or during the taking of ME 424.

Class assignments and grading

The homework assignments involve engineering analysis centering on the principles of combustion or focusing on the performance and pollutant emissions of combustion systems. For assignments involving thermochemical equilibrium and chemical kinetic analyses, the student is provide with the software. Several of the homework assignments will comprise engineering and feasibility analysis for a particular combustion system. For SpQ06 this will be: engineering and feasibility analysis for a gasifying wood chip combustion system for the UW power plant. The laboratory assignments involve the running of combustion systems and flames under supervision. The laboratory write-ups are restricted to discussion of the observations made in lab and to analysis and interpretation of the data collected.

The grading requirements for the course are as follows: 1. Homework assignments - 5 assignments at 5%, for a total of 25% of course grade. 2. Laboratory write ups - 5 write ups at 5% each, for a total of 25% of course grade. 3. Mid-term exam. This counts for 20% of the course grade. For SpQ06, this will be a take-home exam given over the period from Wed, April 26 to Friday, April 28 (10 AM). 4. Final exam. This counts for 30% of the course grade. This will be given at the official exam time for this course: Monday, June 5, 2:30-4:20 PM.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Philip C Malte
Date: 02/26/2006