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Unleaded Gas: Basic Concepts II

Once we are able to manage quite fluently the concepts of tetraethyllead, compression ratio and gasoline, the idea of unleaded gasoline can be clearer. To increase the octane number of gas, we only need to add tetraethyllead. This product, besides being quite cheap and amazingly increase the octane of the motor, not only does not affect the engine but also lubricates the high part of the cylinder (piston, segments and valves). After the implementation of anti-pollution measures, the use of the catalyst in the engine was an obligation. The catalyst function is to eliminate the monoxide of carbon and nitrous oxides from the escape valve. Nevertheless, it was found that tetraethyllead caused serious damage to the catalyst, reason why it was not good to keep on using it as an octane booster anymore. In Europe, they found out about this phenomenon in the middle 80’s. In that moment, refineries began producing unleaded gas to increase the octane number through two different methods. One of them is known as craking, in here, the long chain of molecules are broken and some other additives (and quite expensive by the way) are added; still; only octane number 92 is accomplished. In the early 90’s refineries start manufacturing an unleaded gasoline with octane 98. This accomplishment allows car manufacturers to ensemble engines with a bigger compression relation and greater yield. From that moment on, the capacity to produce unleaded fuel increased and its use was highly recommended. Nowadays, the production of unleaded gas is practically of 100 % and more than the 60 % of the cars use catalysts. In this way, a better functioning of the engines was implemented and cars reduce the level of pollution they produce.

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