MECH ENG 7021 - Combustion Technologies & High Temperature Processes

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2024

The course covers the basics of thermal energy technologies that are common for combustion and fuels, with an emphasis on high temperature production processes. The Paris Agreement requires elimination of global, energy-based greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, and this will demand a staggering transformation since 80% of current energy systems rely on the combustion of fossil fuels. This move to increasing fractions of renewable energy, including renewable hydrogen, biomass, waste and concentrated solar thermal, is driven by the need to mitigate GHG emissions and is expected to take around 50 years. The deployment of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technology alongside existing fossil fuel energy production is also expected. Managing these changes brings many technical challenges, since any change in fuel composition or energy mix will influence the design of the combustion system, fuel consumption and pollutant emissions. The course will equip participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to address these challenges. It covers the understanding, analysis and design of modern combustion systems to account for fuel properties, maximise output and minimise air pollution. Combustion involves both mixing of the fuel and oxidant and the subsequent chemical reactions. The course therefore involves consideration of both combustion aerodynamics and fuel properties. It covers fuel selection, alternative and waste fuels, the design principles involved in reducing pollutant emissions, modelling, applications of combustion for power generation and minerals processing, hybridising combustion with concentrated solar thermal energy and fuel upgrading using solar thermal energy.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code MECH ENG 7021
    Course Combustion Technologies & High Temperature Processes
    Coordinating Unit Mechanical Engineering
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 6 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assessment Assignments, design project, final exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Zhiwei Sun

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    1 Recognise the ongoing role of combustion, both of fossil and bio-fuels, in providing a more sustainable energy source for society, and the environmental challenges to be met to achieve this;
    2 Apply the principles of combustion to practical engineering design;
    3 Explain the complexities of industrial combustion processes;
    4 Summarise the mechanisms of combustion-generated air pollution and the techniques that can be used to control them;
    5 Summarise the safety and handling issues associated with combustion of practical fuels;
    6 Outline the impact of different fuel properties on industrial combustion systems;
    7 Outline the potential of combining combustion and solar thermal technologies as a route towards sustainable energy production

    The above course learning outcomes are aligned with the Engineers Australia Entry to Practice Competency Standard for the Professional Engineer. The course develops the following EA Elements of Competency to levels of introductory (A), intermediate (B), advanced (C):  

    B B C C C C C C C C C C C C C C
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Recommended Resources

    The following texts are highly relevant and strongly recommended, but are not followed directly:

    S.R. Turns “An Introduction to Combustion”, McGraw Hill,

    PJ Mullinger and B.G. Jenkins “Design and Operation of Industrial and Process Furnaces”, Elsevier (This book is available as an e-book, via the Barr Smith library, for students enrolled at the University of Adelaide. 

    Online Learning

    Lectures are provided online with the lecture slides available in MyUni

    Supplementary material for the design project will be provided in MyUni

    A range of other learning materials is available via MyUni

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    The course is biased toward practical problem solving, with 4 hours of problem solving and design project workshops in most weeks. The course is centred around a group-based Design Project, which has the objective of designing the combustion system for a rotary cement or lime kiln and includes mass and enegy balances to size the kiln, heat transfer calculations to estimate kiln temperature and heat losses and
    momentum-based mixing calculations to size the burner. The lectures are pre-recorded, provided weekly via Echo360 / MyUni, and are structured to provide relevant input to the design process.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The design project is undertaken in groups of four for all students, however the project for postgraduate students includes a more expansive scope and is more challenging. The project is a significant undertaking, but can be readily managed by working steadily as a group through the entire semester, attending the weekly Design Workshops and following guidance provided during these workshops. There are two progress reports, with oral presentations, which provides feedback for groups to ensure they remain on track. Students should allow about 2 hours per week to review the pre-recorded lecture content and also prioritise attendance at problem-solving workshops each week.

    Learning Activities Summary
    The following topics will be covered in the pre-recorded lectures:

    Topic 1: Significance, Applications and Process Efficiency
    Topic 2: Stoichiometry and Thermochemistry
    Topic 3: Fuels and Fuels Handling
    Topic 4: Flames and Burners, including Hydrogen Safety
    Topic 5: Heterogeneous Combustion
    Topic 6: Combustion Safety
    Topic 7: Combustion-generated Pollutants
    Topic 8: Solar Thermal Technologies

    Weekly workshops (formative) will apply this theory through solving problems exercises associated with each of the topics.

    The kiln design project runs in parallel with these topics and is supported in dedicated weekly Design Project workshops.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Weighting (%) Individual/ Group Formative/ Summative
    Due (week)*
    Hurdle criteria Learning outcomes
    Design Project Progress Report 1 10 Group Summative Week 4 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
    Mid-Semester Quiz 15 Individual Summative Week 6 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
    Design Project Progress Report 2 15 Group/Individual Summative Week 8 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
    Design Project Final Report 25 Group/Individual Summative Week 12 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
    Examination 35 Individual Summative Examination 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
    Total 100
    * The specific due date for each assessment task will be available on MyUni.
    This assessment breakdown complies with the University's Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy.

    Assessment Detail
    Details on the assessment tasks will be provided
    All kiln design project reports will be submitted via MyUni.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

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