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Old 16th July 2017, 20:58   #1
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Default A very special engine - Waukesha CFR fuel research engine

Ok, let’s see how familiar us petrol heads are with some of the more obscure type of engines.

Today I visited the “Industrial Museum of Zeeland”. A little museum in the far south of the Netherlands about 10 km from the border with Belgium.

I went there as it had a special exhibition about measuring instruments. And I’m interested in that sort of stuff. It’s about 160 km from our home, in a nice part of the country. So I took my 1982 Mercedes W123 and pointed the three pointed star South.

This museum is situated in a renovated part of on old sugar factory. It tries to capture the ‘industrial heritage” of this part of the country. From engines, to trains, factories, power generation etc. It is small, but very well displayed and curated.

They had just take delivery of a new item for their permanent collection. A very special engine. During my years in naval college I had seen pictures and drawings of this engine. I know how it is used and what for, but I had never seen one in real life. As far as I know, modern versions of this engine, still exist and do the same thing as this old one did.

It helps determine something that most, if not all, petrol heads are very familiar with. We have multiple threads on the forum where members have been discussing the essence of what this little engine can determine.

So let’s hear it, any guesses as to what sort of engine this is and what it is used for?

Jeroen

A very special engine - Waukesha CFR fuel research engine-engine-1-1-1.jpg

A very special engine - Waukesha CFR fuel research engine-2-1-1.jpg
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Old 16th July 2017, 21:06   #2
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Default re: A very special engine - Waukesha CFR fuel research engine

I am not an engineer but here goes - is it a steam reciprocating engine? - or a reciprocating engine running on coal gas or a bio-fuel or something like that.

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Old 16th July 2017, 21:20   #3
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Default re: A very special engine - Waukesha CFR fuel research engine

Is it an engine used to analyze fuel quality / knocking characteristics or performance of the fuel?
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Old 16th July 2017, 21:48   #4
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Default re: A very special engine - Waukesha CFR fuel research engine

Ok, let me take a guess. Is this an engine to analyse performance/quality/combustibility of some fuels?
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Old 16th July 2017, 22:01   #5
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Default re: A very special engine - Waukesha CFR fuel research engine

Zooming into the picture -

A very special engine - Waukesha CFR fuel research engine-engine.jpg

A very special engine - Waukesha CFR fuel research engine-waukesha.jpg

Google tells me that it is a Waukesha CFR Fuel Research Engine

More about it here:
https://www.asme.org/getmedia/ffedc3...gine-1928.aspx

Last edited by smartcat : 16th July 2017 at 22:25.
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Old 16th July 2017, 23:42   #6
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Default re: A very special engine - Waukesha CFR fuel research engine

I think it's an engine to test the knocking caused by different fuels?

This setup reminds me of IC Lab while doing my mechanical engineering.
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Old 17th July 2017, 16:19   #7
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Default Re: A very special engine - Waukesha CFR fuel research engine

This is indeed a so-called knocking engine. This one, indeed is a Wakesha CFR engine. It is used in laboratories to determine the octane number of a particular fuel.

The octane number is a measure for a fuel's ability for knocking. It has a variable compression ratio. It can go from 4:1 all the way up to 18:1.

The engine is started with an electric starter and loaded up. Then the compression, with the engine running under load is slowly increased. It has a special knocking sensor that will detect the onset of knocking.

Next, with that particular compression setting reference fuel is used to run the engine. The reference fuel consist of a certain ratio ISO-octane and normal-heptane. A fuel has an octane of 100 when it has the same knocking characteristics as 100% ISO-Octane. A fuel with an octane number of say 95 is comparable with a mixture of 95 parts ISO-Octane and 5 parts normal-Heptane.

So when we are discussing Octane numbers they are actually referring to the referrence fuel, not the fuel in your car.

As I said, I learned about these test engines at Naval Engineering College. Interesting bit of kit. First time I see one in real life. I believe modern versions are still in use today. Although I have seen some reference to more precise other ways of testing as well these days. Maybe one of our members has insights as to how oil companies test their fuels for knocking properties these days.

Jeroen
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