One problem that diesel aircraft engines is that the specification for Jet Fuel does not contain a pectane specification. So the Actual pectane rating for a gallon of Jet A could be all over the place, depending on where you buy your fuel.
What is a pectane specification? Pectane is the readiness of the fuel to ignight. So it is pretty much the opposite of the Octane rating that we are all pretty familiar with. Octane being the fuels resistane to lighting off.
Funny isn't it? Everybody think high octane means really explosive stuff. But the higher the octane number the more stable it is.
This is of course very important for a diesel since the engine is compression ignited. The rule is that the higher the pectane number the easier the fuel is to light off. As a general rule diesel fuel in the US has a very low pectane number with Europe and Japan higher. That is why Diesel engines in those countries generally don't make that clank clank sound you associate with Diesel trucks in the U.S.
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