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Iron Instead Of Petrol Essay

2322 words - 10 pages

The purpose of this report is to provide a background briefing to explain how and why iron might be used instead of petrol as a fuel for the combustion engine of cars. The report will also provide an overview of laboratory tests to see if iron may be used as fuel for a car design.
The report will also list the background, hypothesis, method, results, discussion and a conclusion.

Fuel is a combustible matter used to maintain fire, as coal, wood, oil, or gas, in order to create heat or energy. The following criteria can be used to help define what a ‘good fuel’ for internal combustion engines is;
• A high level of efficiency
• A high energy output
• Being environmentally friendly
...view middle of the document...

Combustion reactions are almost always exothermic (i.e., they give off heat). For example when wood burns, it must do so in the presence of O2 and a lot of heat is produced:
Like hydrogen, a metal fuel is an energy carrier and burns cleanly. But unlike hydrogen, metal fuels—such as iron, aluminum, and boron—possess a higher energy content per unit volume, can be stored and transported at ambient temperatures and pressures, reach combustion at high efficiency in a heat engine, and avoid the high costs of fuel cells.
If you put a tiny amount of high-energy fuel (like gasoline) in a small, enclosed space and ignite it, an incredible amount of energy is released in the form of expanding gas. Create a cycle that allows you to set off explosions like this hundreds of times per minute, and if you can harness that energy in a useful way, what you have is the core of a car engine!
To make an engine work the following chemical reaction would need to occur: The engine takes in Air (Oxygen and Nitrogen) and fuel (hydrocarbons) and produces CO2, H2O, and the N2 just passes straight through. The chemical equation is as follows. 2 C8H18 (gas) + 25 O2 = 16 CO2 + 18H2O
We will be testing the various burn rates of iron using 4 hypotheses. The tests will consist of a number of variables such as using iron filings to create a larger surface area, adding oxygen (hydrogen peroxide / potassium chlorate) to increase the burn rate and increasing the temperature (more Bunsen Burners). During each of the 4 experiments (hypotheses) the time was recorded to see what the possibility was for using iron as a fuel.

The following 4 hypotheses have been formulated to allow for testing in an effort to conduct a scientific investigation on how to make iron burn faster, to see if it might have the potential to be used as fuel.

If we grind up the iron into fine particles, then the iron will burn faster because it will have an increased surface area.

If we add more oxygen, then the iron will burn faster as a result of the increased levels of oxygen.

If we increase the temperature, then the iron will burn faster because the temperature of the iron will increase substantially.

If we grind the iron into fine particles, increase the oxygen levels and temperature, the iron will burn faster and could potentially be used as a fuel.

1. Wear safety spectacles.
2. Issue Iron filings
3. Prepare the Bunsen burner
4. Place iron filings on plastic spoon
5. Sprinkle iron filings into the Bunsen burner flame
6. Observe reaction
7. Record observations
8. Extinguish the Bunsen burner flame
9. Remove your safety spectacles
10. Clean working area


Figure 2: Sketch showing Hypothesis 1


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