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Amgen Scholars: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty for the Amgen Scholars program.

Announcements of Opportunity are posted as they are received. Please check back regularly for new AO submissions! Remember: This is just one way that you can go about identifying a suitable project and/or mentor. For additional tips on identifying a mentor click here.

Please remember:

  • Students pursuing Amgen must be U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, or students with DACA status.
  • Students pursuing Amgen must complete the 10-week program from June 18 - August 23, 2024. Students must commit to these dates. No exceptions will be made.
  • Accepted students must live in provided Caltech housing.

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Project:  Ignition of sustainable aviation fuels in hot air atmospheres- Effect of molecule structure on the autoignition temperature.
Disciplines:  Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering
Mentor:  Joseph Shepherd, Professor, (EAS),
Mentor URL:  (opens in new window)
AO Contact:  Charline Fouchier,
Background:  Accidental ignition of flammable mixtures is an important hazard in the chemical and transportation industries. Our laboratory has extensively investigated the autoignition temperature (AIT) of combustible liquids following the ASTM-E659 standardized tests [1]. Most recent works have been conducted by Conor Martin and can be found in [2][3]. Aviation fuels are currently being tested. The complexity of fuel composition makes the ignition processes even more difficult to characterize. The focus of the project is to investigate the effect of fuel composition in the AIT.
Description:  A bibliographical review will first be conducted to become familiar with the ASTM test and combustion processes [4]. Single-component fuels (hexane, dodecane,…) will be tested under the ASTM conditions and compared with multicomponent aviation fuels such as Jet A and our surrogate paraffinic kerosene fuel. The composition of the aviation fuels will be analyzed via Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer (GC-MS). Conclusions will be given on the effect of molecule structures on the fuel AIT, and results will be compared with the available theory.
References:  [1] ASTM-E659 (2005). Standard test method for autoignition temperature of liquid chemicals. American
Society for Testing and Materials.
[2] Martin, C. D., & Shepherd, J. E. (2021). Low-temperature autoignition of Jet A and surrogate jet fuel. Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, 71, 104454.
[3] Martin, C.D., Shepherd, J.E. (2020). Autoignition testing of hydrocarbon fuels using the ASTM-E659 method. Galcit report EDL2020-001.
[4] Affens, W. A., Johnson, J. E., & Carhart, H. W. (1961). Effect of Chemical Structure on Spontaneous Ignition of Hydrocarbons. Journal of Chemical and Engineering Data, 6(4), 613-619.
Student Requirements:  Background needed: Fundamentals of fluid and thermal sciences.
Skills needed: Impeccable laboratory safety discipline, Working knowledge of programming on Matlab or Python, Knowledge in organic chemistry preferred.
Knowledge goals: Experimental and theoretical characterization of ignition processes, Advanced knowledge of experimental methods applied for combustion, Labview basic knowledge, Advanced knowledge of GC-MS
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    Caltech students only 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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