octane number(redirected from octane ratings)
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an arbitrary quantitative characterization of the antiknock qualities of motor fuels used in carburetor internal-combustion engines. The octane number is determined by comparing the fuel being tested with secondary standard fuels. The primary standards are isooctane, whose high antiknock value is arbitrarily assumed to be 100 on the octane scale, and n-heptane, whose antiknock value is assumed to be zero. The antiknock value of the fuel being tested is characterized by determining the composition of the mixture of isooctane and n-heptane that has an equivalent antiknock value. Quantitatively, the octane number indicates the percentage of isooctane (by volume) in the reference mixture.
The octane number is determined under standardized conditions using special, small one-cylinder engines according to one of three methods (the motor method, the research method, or the temperature method), which differ in the operational parameters of the engine. The motor method is used for evaluating aviation gasolines and automotive gasolines with octane numbers 65–100; the research method, for automotive gasolines; and the temperature method, in testing high-octane aviation gasolines and their high-octane components with octane numbers 90–115, and also in determining the quality grade of gasolines. The octane number characterizes the fuel under conditions of a lean mixture (excess air ratio, 0.9–1.1).