Date of Graduation

Spring 5-30-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemistry


College of Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Giovanni Meloni

Second Advisor

Lawrence Margerum

Third Advisor

William Melaugh


This thesis describes the combustion experiments performed at the Chemical Dynamics Beamline of the Advanced Light Source (ALS) located at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories (LBNL). The need for renewable fuel sources, the need for the study of their combustion in the contexts of homogenous charge combustion ignition (HCCI) engines can be found in Chapter 1. The components of the experimental set-up used throughout this thesis—time-of-flight mass spectrometer, Excimer laser, vacuum pumps and other components—and the components of ALS responsible in synchrotron radiation generation and processing—the linear accelerator, the booster ring, insertion devices, gas filters and monochromator are explained in Chapter 2. The data analysis method and the computational method used in the data analysis are expounded in Chapter 3.

There are two combustion systems being investigated in this thesis. Mesitylene, an aromatic fuel additive, is proposed to be jet fuel, and its combustion is described in Chapter 4. Semi-biorenewable tert-amyl methyl ether (TAME) is studied in Chapter 5. Thermodynamic calculations, proposed mechanism, product identification and branching fractions are included in the analysis of the combustion of all these molecules.