MECH ENG 7021 - Combustion Technologies & High Temperature Processes

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2023

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 School of 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: Professor Peter Ashman

    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;
    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 complementary roles of measurements, modelling and scaling in understanding combustion, and in solving industrial problems;
    6 Summarise the safety and handling issues associated with combustion;
    7 Outline the impact of different fuel properties on industrial combustion systems;
    8 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 Stage 1 Competency Standard for the Professional Engineer.
    The course is designed to develop the following Elements of Competency: 1.1   1.2   1.3   1.4   1.5   1.6   2.1   2.2   2.3   2.4   3.1   3.2   3.3   3.4   3.5   3.6   

    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

    Copies of all presentations will be made available after each lecture

    Supplementary material for the design project will be provided

    Links to public lectures and seminars from the Environment Institute will be provided

    A range of other material is available via MyUni

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    The course is heavily biased toward practical problem solving, with 4 hours per week of normal tutorials and design project tutorials, compared with 2 hours per week of lectures. It is centred around a Design Project, which has the objective of designing the combustion system for a rotary cement kiln and includes mass and enegy balances to size the kiln and momentum-based mixing calculations to size the burner. If available, a plant tour of a large and leading cement plant is undertaken, to provide insight into the facility being designed by students in the classroom. The lectures are structured to provide relevant input to the design process. In addition to the marked assignments, progress reports and final report for the design project, many other in-class tutorials are provided that are not examined.


    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 Final Year students, and individually for Masters students. It is a significant undertaking, but can be readily managed by working steadily through the semester. The virtual combustion laboratory can be completed in the allocated time provided students are well organised and focussed on the task. The work-load has been refined over the ten years in which the course has been run to provide a balanced work-load that is well reflected in the value of the 3 point subject.

    Learning Activities Summary

    No information currently available.

  • 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
    Assignments x 4 35 Individual Summative Week 5,7,10,12 1. 2. 3. 7.
    Design Project Progress Report 1 5 Individual Summative Week 6 1. 2. 3. 4. 6. 7.
    Design Project Progress Report 2 10 Individual Summative Week 8 1. 2. 3. 4. 6. 7.
    Design Project Final Report 25 Individual Summative Week 13 1. 2. 3. 4. 6. 7.
     Open-book online quiz 25 Individual Summative Examination 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
    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 Related Requirements

    Tutorials are considered to be compulsory. Whether or not students have submitted each assignment will be considered strongly in assessing marks which are border-line between grade options (e.g. border-line pass/fail or credit/distinction).

    Assessment Detail
    Details on the assessment tasks will be provided
    • Stoich. & Thermo. Assignment end of week 4

    • Flames Assignment end of week 7

    • Kiln Design Project:

      Progress Report 1 due end of week 5

      Progress Report 2 due end of week 9

      Final Report due end of week 12

    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

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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