The hot, sometimes high-pressure, yet smooth conditions behind reflected shockwaves are the ideal environment for studying the chemical complexities of combustion.
Aamir Farooq, from KAUST’s Clean Combustion Research Center
, and his team, have used a shock tube coupled with laser diagnostics to study the rapid cascade of chemical reactions set in motion when fuel combusts. This data can help in the design of cleaner, more efficient engines and fuels than are currently available. The insights gained could also be used to study reactions in the air that generate or remove pollutants, or even to study the atmospheric conditions of distant planets.