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Unleaded Gas: Basic Concepts I

There are three concepts that must be very clear when dealing with unleaded gas topics: gasoline, octane and compression ratio. Gasoline is a derivative of fuel, constituted by several hydrocarbons which its basic components are hydrogen and carbon. Moreover, gasoline is the second component of the distillation process of refuel, which places it over kerosene and under GLP’s. After the distillation process, gasoline’s number of octane is approximately 76. Octane is the reference number that indicates the pressure and the temperature under which any carbureted fuel can be compressed; in other words, the temperature under which it can be intimately mixed with air without burning. Consequently, any liquid or gaseous fuel owns its unique octane number, such as gin, cologne, alcohol and butane. This relation was established by the Research Motor Laboratories, reason why the abbreviation is R.O.N (Research Octane Number). To increase the octane number, a chemical component known as tetraethyllead has been implemented in the use of gasoline. Since 1995, gasoline manufacturers predetermined certain numbers of octane in order to regulate the manufacture of it with the following denomination: 87 normal, 96 super and 98 extra. Compression ratio is the existent relation between the volume of the combustion box and the cylinder volume plus the addition of the volume of the combustion box. In order for this function to increase or decrease, the reached pressure during the compression must be bigger or lesser. The compression relations oscillate between 8’5 to 1 and 10’5 to 1. Therefore, we must use the type of gasoline that is more appropriate to our motor in accordance to its compression function, the greater the compression, the greater octane gasoline it must contain. If you use gasoline with a smaller octane number than the required, pre-ignition takes place. Pre-ignition produces a brake effect in the motor development and due to the pressure and temperature reached during combustion; it may even drill the pistons. Managing these three concepts, further knowledge about unleaded gas can be easily understood.

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