Ethanol Alcohol and its Effects on Gasoline

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Updated on Mar 31, 2011

2011 VIRTUAL SCIENCE FAIR ENTRY

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of my project is to see if adding higher levels of ethanol alcohol to gasoline decreases the run time of a motor.

Procedure: Carefully add 50 millimeters of 87 octane gasoline blended with 10% ethanol alcohol to the empty fuel tank of the motor and measure how long the motor runs for. Repeat this for both 89 and 93 octane gasoline. In a fifty millimeter measuring cup mix 45 millimeters of gasoline and 5 millimeters of ethanol alcohol, then add this mixture to an empty fuel tank and measure how long the motor runs for. Repeat this for both 89 and 93 octane gasoline. Keep repeating these steps until you can measure up to 50% ethanol alcohol and 50% gasoline.

Conclusion: In conclusion, my hypothesis was proved correct that, adding higher levels of ethanol alcohol decreases the run time of a motor.

Type
Earth Science
Grade
12th
Difficulty of Project
Hard
Cost
$50-200
Safety Issues

In my experiment there are the following safety errors, working with gasoline and ethanol. Because, you are working with such dangerous liquids you must take certain safety precautions. You must always make sure that there is nothing flammable nearby you experiment area, and you must make sure that you are wearing a mask so that you do not breathe in any fumes. In this experiment you also work with a motor, so you must be careful not to do anything that would compromise the safety of the motor, or compromise your own safety.

Time Taken to Complete Project

Altogether my project, took me around 10 hours to complete. This is because it took me around four hours to set up my experiment, as well as to do a pre trial run with my experiment. It took me around 3 hours to do the actual experiment, and around three hours to do my results, as well as research.

Objective

The purpose of this experiment is to see if adding higher levels of ethanol alcohol to gasoline, will improve the run time of a motor.

Materials

  1. 4 Cycle internal combustion motor, 3.5 horse power made by Honda – Home Depot
  2. Stop Watch – Home Depot
  3. Fire Extinguisher -- Home Depot
  4. 87 Octane gasoline blended with 10% ethanol alcohol – Quick Trip
  5. 89 octane gasoline blended with 10% ethanol alcohol – Quick Trip
  6. 93 octane gasoline blended with 10% ethanol alcohol – Quick Trip
  7. Pure Ethanol alcohol – Can Only be Produced not Purchased
  8. Measuring cup in metric units – Wal-Mart

Most of the items used in my experiment were easy to obtain, the only item that was not easy was the Pure Ethanol Alcohol. The reason for this is because it is extremely hard to buy it, in my cases you have to produce it yourself.

Introduction

When people think of gasoline, most people would think about cars or some other uses of gasoline.It can be said that gasoline makes the world “go around”. Whether you believe that saying or not, it cannot be doubted that gasoline affects everyone. Gasoline is not a renewable resource. Because gasoline is not renewable, ethanol is starting to be added to gasoline. Ethanol, which is renewable, has many uses to help gasoline, like helping it run in an internal combustion engine. Ethanol has many uses not only because it is renewable, but it gives gasoline unique properties that improve its use. While ethanol does help gasoline, adding large quantities of ethanol to gasoline decrease gasoline’s potential.

Terms and Concepts for Back ground Information

  1. Gasoline
  2. Ethanol
  3. Combustion Engine
  4. Non Combustion Engine
  5. Non Renewable Resource
  6. Renewable Resource
  7. Hydrocarbon

Research Questions

  • What is Gasoline?
  • What is Ethanol?
  • How is gasoline produced?
  • How is Ethanol Produced?
  • How does a Combustion Engine work?
  • How does a Non Combustion Engine work?

Hypothesis: My hypothesis for this experiment is that adding higher levels of ethanol alcohol to gasoline, will not improve the run time of a motor.

Experimental Procedure

  1. Carefully add 50 milliliters of 87 octane gasoline blended with 10% ethanol alcohol to the empty fuel tank of the motor and measure how long the motor runs for.
  2. Remove any remaining fuel from the fuel tank.
  3. Repeat step 1and 2 for 89 and 93 octane gasoline blended with 10% ethanol alcohol.
  4. In ametric unit measuring containerblend 45 milliliters of 87 octane gasoline commerciallypre-blended with 10% ethanol alcohol, and 5 milliliters of 100% pure ethanol alcohol. This makes the mixture 20% pure ethanol alcohol and 80% gasoline.
  5. With your 20% pure ethanol alcohol and 80% gasoline mixture pour into the empty fuel tank and measure how long the motor runs for.
  6. Remove any remaining fuel from the fuel tank.
  7. Repeat steps 5-6 for 89 and 93 octane gasoline commercially pre-blended with 10% ethanol alcohol.
  8. In a metric unit measuring container blend 40 milliliters of 87 octane gasoline commercially pre- blended with 10% ethanol alcohol, and 10milliliters of 100% pure ethanol alcohol. This makes the mixture 30% ethanol alcohol and 70% gasoline.
  9. Remove any remaining fuel from the fuel tank.
  10. Repeat steps 8-9 for 89 and 93 octane gasoline commercially pre-blended with 10% ethanol alcohol.
  11. In a metric unit measuring container blend 35 milliliters of 87 octane gasoline commercially pre- blended with 10% ethanol alcohol, and 15 milliliters of 100% pure ethanol alcohol. This makes the mixture 40% ethanol alcohol and 60% gasoline.
  12. Remove any remaining fuel from the fuel tank.
  13. Repeat steps 12 and 13 for 89 and 93 octane gasoline commercially pre- blended with 10% ethanol alcohol.
  14. In a metric unit measuring container blend 30 milliliters of 87 octane gasoline commercially pre- blended with 10% ethanol alcohol, and 20 millimeters of 100% pure ethanol alcohol. This makes the mixture 50% ethanol alcohol and 50% gasoline.
  15. Remove any remaining fuel from the fuel tank.
  16. Repeat steps 12 and 13 for 89 and 93 octane gasoline commercially pre- blended with 10% ethanol alcohol.

Results

87 Octane
% alcohol
Trial 1
Trial 2
Trial 3
Trial 4
Trial 5
Average
10
212
211
209
208
211
210.2
20
219
195
99
117
176
161
30
201
146
237
0
0
116.8
40
0
0
0
0
0
0
50
0
0
0
0
0
0
89 Octane
% alcohol
Trial 1
Trial 2
Trial 3
Trial 4
Trial 5
Average
10
211
233
179
227
195
209
20
240
229
183
217
227
219
30
155
173
209
187
232
191
40
168
133
164
182
153
160
50
0
0
0
0
0
0
93 Octane
% alcohol
Trial 1
Trial 2
Trial 3
Trial 4
Trial 5
Average
10
237
211
232
234
212
225.2
20
232
244
192
213
168
209.8
30
142
237
151
145
150
165
40
0
0
0
0
0
0
50
0
0
0
0
0
0

*Units are in seconds

87
89
93
10
210.2
209
225.2
20
161
219
209.8
30
116.8
191
165
40
0
160
0
50
0
0
0

Conclusion

Conclusion- In conclusion, my hypothesis was proved both correct and wrong. My hypothesis was that adding higher levels of ethanol alcohol to gasoline would decrease the run time of a motor. In the experiment, when I ran the trials for 93 octane gasoline containing 10% commercially blended ethanol alcohol, this mixture ran the longest for 225 seconds. This result proved my hypothesis correct.However when I started running the trials where I added higher levels of ethanol alcohol to the gasoline, 89 octane gasoline with 20% ethanol alcohol ran longest for 219 seconds. This went against my hypothesis. The reason for this is because the 89 octane gasoline with 20% ethanol alcohol ran for 219 seconds which was longer that the 89 octane gasoline with only 10% ethanol alcohol.

Questions for Further Research

  1. Using a flex motor, would the results of your project change?
  2. What would the results be if you used 100% pure gasoline?

Bibliography

  1. Gasoline--is it all the same? what about octane?. (2008). American Petroleum Institute, Retrieved from http://www.api.org/aboutoilgas/gasoline/gasoline-octane.cfm
  2. Ethanol 101. (2010). American Coalition for Ethanol , Retrieved from http://www.ethanol.org/index.php?id=34&parentid=8
  3. Mosier, Nathan. (2006). Bioenergy. Unpublished manuscript, Department of Agriculture and Biological Engineering , Purdue University, Retrieved from http://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/ID/ID-328.pdf
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  5. Packard, Kathleen. (2007). Chemistry. Shoreview, Minnesota: Pearson
  6. Brown, Theodore. (2006). Chemistry the central science. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson.
  7. Federal Trade Commission , (2003). Facts for consumers Retrieved from http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/autos/aut12.shtm
  8. Internal combustion engine . (2010, October 12). Retrieved from http://www.scienceclarified.com/He-In/Internal-Combustion-Engine.html
  9. Campbell, Reece. Biology AP Edition. 7th ed..Pearson, Benjamin Cummings, 2005. Print.
  10. Hart , Harold. (2007). Organic chemistry, a short course. Boston, Ma: Houghton Mifflin.
  11. Smith, Tavernier. (1994). Glossary of class names. Retrieved from http://www.chem.qmul.ac.uk/iupac/class/index.html
  12. Marye Anne Fox and James K. Whitesell, Organic Chemistry, 3rd ed. Sudbury: Jones and Bartlett Publishers
  13. Chemistry 101. (2010, November 14). Retrieved from http://chemistry.about.com/od/generalchemistry/u/basics.htm

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