Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Computers Use Darwinian Model To "Evolve" Fuel Additives

Date:
July 22, 1999
Source:
Purdue University
Summary:
Chemical engineers at Purdue University have developed and demonstrated how a computerized system that mimics evolution can discover new gasoline additives for better engine performance.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Chemical engineers at Purdue University have developed and demonstrated how a computerized system that mimics evolution can discover new gasoline additives for better engine performance.

Related Articles


The engineers developed "genetic" algorithms -- or computer instructions -- that adapt Charles Darwin's evolutionary model to combine and recombine chemical components until the "fittest" fuel additives emerge. Each additive is made of three sections: a head, linker and tail. But there are about 20 distinct kinds of heads, linkers and tails that can be combined differently to make a nearly endless variety of compounds.

"Based on the combinations, they can have completely different properties," says Venkat Venkatasubramanian, a professor of chemical engineering. The numerous combinations can be likened to biological diversity: the genetic blueprints for all life forms are made of the same four chemical building blocks of DNA, and only subtle variations in gene sequences spell the difference between monkeys and humans.

Rather than trying to study the properties of every possible compound, the evolutionary method naturally selects the best-performing additives.

"We randomly create hundreds of molecules from these heads and tails at the beginning," Venkatasubramanian says. The system can then predict how well the molecules will work by evaluating their structures.

Only the best candidates are kept, and they continue to breed. Their head, linker and tail sections are recombined, and so on, until a final "generation" of highest-performing additives is reached.

Fuel additives are needed to reduce deposits, left over from the combustion of gasoline, that build up on engine valves. The deposits eventually affect the performance of the valves, hindering engine efficiency. Additives latch onto waste material, preventing it from settling on the surfaces of valves.

The work was detailed in a poster presentation Wednesday, July 21, during the Fifth International Conference on Foundations of Computer-Aided Process Design (http://www.ecs.umass.edu/che/FOCAPD99) in Breckenridge, Colo. The paper was written by Venkatasubramanian, graduate students Anantha Sundaram and Prasenjeet Ghosh, chemical engineering Professor James M. Caruthers, all from Purdue, and chemist Daniel T. Daly from Lubrizol Corp. in Wickliffe, Ohio, which funded the research.

Genetic algorithms are not limited to the design of gasoline additives. They have been used in other applications and might become a major force in the design of future drugs, plastics and other products, Venkatasubramanian says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Purdue University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Purdue University. "Computers Use Darwinian Model To "Evolve" Fuel Additives." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/07/990722064348.htm>.
Purdue University. (1999, July 22). Computers Use Darwinian Model To "Evolve" Fuel Additives. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/07/990722064348.htm
Purdue University. "Computers Use Darwinian Model To "Evolve" Fuel Additives." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/07/990722064348.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots Get Funky on the Dance Floor

Robots Get Funky on the Dance Floor

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Dancing, spinning and fighting robots are showing off their agility at "Robocomp" in Krakow. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Saharan Solar Project to Power Europe

Saharan Solar Project to Power Europe

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A solar energy project in the Tunisian Sahara aims to generate enough clean energy by 2018 to power two million European homes. Matt Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lowe's Testing Robot Sales Assistants in California Store

Lowe's Testing Robot Sales Assistants in California Store

Buzz60 (Oct. 29, 2014) Lowe’s is testing out what it’s describing as a robotic shopping assistant in one of its Orchard Supply Hardware Stores in California. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins