A quantity indicating the ignition properties of diesel fuel relative to cetane as a standard.
- Euro III diesel has a minimum cetane number (a standard measure of ignition quality) of 51, up from 48, while the corresponding petrol has an octane number (an ‘anti-knock’ index) of 91 instead of 88.
- Increasing the cetane number of the fuel can decrease the amount of knock by shortening the ignition delay.
- A fuel with a higher cetane number will shorten the time during which unburned fuel is emitted to the atmosphere.
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