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High-temperature Engines

February 16, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 7

Important Notice

National Meeting Program Moves Online

ACS national meeting and exposition preliminary and final technical programs will no longer be printed in their entirety in C&EN. They will now be available on the ACS website. The full ACS governance committee agendas, the ACS division technical program summary grids, and the full technical program, which have traditionally appeared in C&EN, will be online only. For the upcoming meeting in Salt Lake City, all program information is online at

This initiative is in accordance with the society's goals of environmental and financial sustainability. Paper will be saved, as will postage and production expenses. Because there will be no lead time required for printing and mailing, national meeting program material will be available earlier than ever before.

Specifically, committee information is available at To access the division technical program summary grids and the online technical program, visit and select the "Technical Program" link on the left navigation.

C&EN will print essential information in a preliminary program approximately eight weeks before each national meeting. For the meeting in Salt Lake City, this appeared in the Jan. 26 issue. Additional information will appear in the issue of C&EN that is published approximately four weeks prior to the meeting. For the Salt Lake City meeting, this information will appear on March 2.

The technical program will be available online by Feb. 23, one week earlier than in the past. Links to the program will appear in a box in both the online and print versions of C&EN, as well as on the front page of We encourage divisions to link to the meeting program from their websites. The entire technical program will be available in searchable PDF format on C&EN Online on March 2.

As always, the on-site meeting program book will be distributed in Salt Lake City.

Please direct any questions to Denise Creech at

"MIMICKING Mother-of-Pearl," on the work of Robert Ritchie and others, shows a route that is likely to make tough high-temperature structural materials more readily available (C&EN, Dec. 8, 2008, page 8). This promises removal of a serious obstacle to increased use of high-temperature engines and the resulting improved fuel efficiency.

I know of two other obstacles, however, and one of them is purely chemical. The nonchemical obstacle is high exhaust temperature, and I will leave that for engineers to address. The chemical obstacle is emission of nitrogen oxides.

We have been making a trade-off in many engines since about 1975: lower combustion temperature to minimize NOx formation and a catalytic converter to reduce emission of unburned fuel and carbon monoxide. Can chemistry now offer a more efficient trade-off? Can we go to higher hot-end temperatures, reduce levels of partial combustion, and catalytically lower the NOx emissions? For fixed engines (obviously not for automobiles) it might even be acceptable to produce ammonia as a by-product.

Stephen Jacobs
Elberon, N.J.


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