Surrogate Fuel Formulation


From 2010 to 2012, I worked at the Combustion and Propulsion Group at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Professor Omer L. Gulder on a project to develop surrogates for aerospace fuels. Surrogates are chemical mixtures that have similar properties to the sample of interest in some regards.

About the Project

Fuels are key elements of combustion systems. The variability in composition of real fuels and the large number of components these fuels are composed of, limit their use for experimental and numerical modeling of combustion systems. To overcome these limitations, surrogate fuels may be used.

Surrogate fuels are mixtures of pure hydrocarbons that mimic specific properties of a real fuel. The use of a small number of pure compounds in their formulation ensures that chemical composition is well controlled and numerical modeling has lower computational cost.

In this work, surrogate mixtures were developed for Jet A fuel based on correlations between fuel properties (cetane number, smoke point, threshold sooting index (TSI), density, viscosity, boiling point and freezing point) and the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra of the fuel as a measure of the fuel’s chemical composition. Comparison of the chemical composition and target fuel properties of surrogate fuels developed in this work to a Jet A fuel sample and other surrogate fuels proposed in the literature revealed the superiority of these surrogate fuels in mimicking the fuel properties of interest.


  • Mathematical models/quantitative structure property relationships (using regression methods and machine learning techniques) to correlate ignition quality, sooting tendency and thermophysical properties of different hydrocarbons with the chemical structure of the fuel (represented by NMR spectra)
  • Proposal of surrogate mixtures that could mimic the properties of Jet-A fuel using NMR spectrum matching and the correlations developed (lumped parameter modeling)