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RAP opportunity at National Institute of Standards and Technology     NIST

Biofuels: Enabling the Transition by Advancing Thermophysics


Material Measurement Laboratory, Applied Chemicals and Materials Division

opportunity location
50.64.72.B6752 Boulder, CO

NIST only participates in the February and August reviews.


name email phone
Mark O McLinden 303.497.3580


Biofuels will be phased in by blending them with hydrocarbons from fossil fuels-initially conventional gasoline or diesel fuel and later possibly with synfuels derived from coal. Biofuel compounds have fundamentally different chemical characteristics compared to petroleum-derived hydrocarbons. For example, plants yield biofuels consisting of alcohols, esters and/or carboxylic acids, molecules that are all highly polar and associating. Therefore, biofuels present an enormous challenge for property science. Their successful implementation demands accurate property data for actual fuel mixtures, which may consist of components that are chemically very dissimilar. We are exploring new approaches in measurements and modeling to meet these challenges. Rapid experimental methods are applied to characterize the multitude of molecular interactions present in complex, many-component mixtures. Measurements include density, speed of sound, heat capacity, viscosity, and thermal conductivity. We are implementing novel combinations of modeling with experiment, including the measurement of dielectric properties and electrical conductivities to resolve the interactions of polar molecules. We are also exploring the integration of thermodynamic and transport properties and phase equilibria in new ways (e.g., by relating mixture viscosities to azeotropy and liquid-liquid equilibria). The goal is to develop modeling approaches that will be expandable to any number of compounds and to the various types of interactions between them.


key words
Biofuels; Experimental measurements; Mixtures; Thermodynamics; Thermophysical properties; Viscosity;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$82,764.00 $3,000.00
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