IASH Community Forum : Storage and Thermal Stability
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 Subject : The effect of a magnetic field on diesel fuel chemical structure and l.. 11/02/2022 07:09:25 AM 
Dr. Robert E. Morris
Posts: 11
Subject :The effect of a magnetic field on diesel fuel chemical structure and long term stability

The following is an email exchange concerning the impact of magnetic filtration on diesel fuel chemistry. It is being reprinted here because it was deemed of interest to the fuel community.


hello all,

My name is Elad ittah, I am the head of the Israel Defense Forces technological division fuel, materials and chemistry branch. I have been working in the field of fuel stability and properties since 2004.

I attended the last IASH conference in Dresden. This was my personal first time, although my branch was a former member for years, and I had the honor that one of our experiments was presented on IASH 2007.

one of my team's roles is to test and evaluate fuel quality related technologies for the army, and recommend our organization regarding usage of such technologies and their contribution to fuel quality, long term preservation and etc.

it is not the first time along the years that we are presented with the question of the influence of magnetic field based systems on long term stability of diesel fuel stored in our tanks. along the years, we received suggestions from different companies claiming that they can install a system that will continuously once a period circulate our diesel fuel through a patented magnetic field, what they claim will influence diesel fuel in the molecular level in a way that will prevent the diesel fuel molecules from polymerization, forming gums, sediments etc. this way they claim diesel fuel can be preserved for a very long time, even 10 years while conforming to diesel fuel en 590 standard requirements, instead of the 3-5 years period the IDF already stores diesel fuel in long term storage conditions, sometimes using antioxidants and biocides.

the problem is, that these companies, usually don't have sufficient scientific data and research to professionally support these claims, especially the influence of such magnets in the molecular level as they claim. these systems also contain a regular fine particle filter and a water separator, that if the diesel continually passes through, this will also have a positive effect on the long term stability of the fuel, so this leads us to think, maybe the magnet is just a commercial gimmick and the actual work is done by continuously filtering and water draining of the diesel fuel...

so this leads me to my questions to the respected forum.

We couldn't find a lot of scientific data published that supports this "magic". Also, we are not familiar with wide usage of such technologies, which leads us to doubt these claims. Obviously, we won't recommend using such systems, without any basic scientific principle and supporting data. Personally, I tend not to "buy" these claims, from my knowledge and experience in the field, but... was there any real scientific work done on the actual effect on such magnetic field treatment systems, their influence on diesel fuel in the molecular level or long term chemical stability?

any long term experience with diesel fuel stored using these systems for several years ?

should we expect the same behavior only by using continuous fuel circulation through a water separation and particle filtration system?

If no scientific data is available, what will be the best ways to evaluate such claims and conclude on long term behavior, without the need for long term experiments over years?

I would be happy to hear your thoughts on these subjects, learn any relevant information or connect with relevant POC's.

LTC Elad Ittah
head of fuel, materials & chemistry branch


Dear Elad
Thank you for the enquiry related to magnetic fields changing fuel chemistry.

For many years BP operated a magnetic filter on a major aviation fuel supply pipeline due to trace rust blocking traditional filters. While major sections of the pipeline have now been replaced and the filter is no longer required, we are able to advise there was no change in fuel chemistry, only trace rust removal. Indeed, this would be the expected result as magnetic fields of much greater strength are used in hospitals for NMR scans. Perhaps the only reason there might be claims in reduced microbiological activity would be the reduction in sludge / particles in tankage due to cleaner fuels following magnetic filtration.


Good afternoon, Elad:

Didn’t we have a conversation in Dresden? It’s a shame you didn’t bring the magnetic device up with we were together.

When I read your email, several things came to mind. Alasdair’s experience was one of them. I’m delighted that he responded before I could. If memory serves, Alisdair presented his magnetic device experience at either Steamboat Springs or other, long ago ICSHLF.

I have some direct experience with in-line magnetic devices that purport to disinfect microbially contaminated fuels. These devices were originally developed in the late 80s or early 90s for use aboard marine craft ranging in size from cabin cruisers to naval ships. In addition to the antimicrobial claims, the inventor’s claims included restoration of diesel fuel’s oxidative stability and elimination of particulates.

Dr. Joan Kelly evaluated the original device for antimicrobial performance and obtained equivocal results. The manufacturer contorted her findings to make it appear that they confirmed the device’s biocidal efficacy. Joan still gets a bit upset when I mention that experience to her.

In the early 90s, one of the original manufacturer’s employees went into competition with the founder. The new company had some field trial data that superficially looked interesting. However, it turned out that magnetic device instillation was invariably one of several actions taken to control microbial contamination. I worked with them to arrange for a well-designed, properly controlled field trial, but they were unable to get the trial executed.

In 2009 & 10 I was principal investigator for USAF AFRL-sponsored project FA8650-10-2034 to evaluate non-chemical, fuel microbial contamination control technologies. I included an in-line magnetic device among the tested technologies.

The attached report’s literature review section includes discussion of in-line magnetic technology claims. The magnetic field exposed populations were not killed. However, after exposure, they did not proliferate in the same way populations exposed to the their test treatments did. Moreover, biofilm biomasses from exposed populations were <10 % than those from unexposed populations. The results were preliminary, but interesting. Our proposal for Phase-II funding received high technical scores, but the sponsors were not happy with the fact that we were not a brick and mortar company (Phase-I had been a three-way collaboration among BCA, Fluid-Assets, and UDRI). Thus the additional validation testing planned as part of the Phase-II scope of work has never been completed.

I remain skeptical but open minded about in-line magnetic devices. I think they are worth being evaluated robustly, but am not convinced that they will perform as their manufactures claim.

I am aware of three companies currently flogging the in-line devices. Two are owned and operated by former employees of the company to whom the original patent was issued.



Hi Fred,

Sorry for my late response.
U are wright, I should have brought this issue to the conversation during the conference.
The application that we are talking about in our case is tank storage, and the company is claiming for a change in molecular configuration and chain length, therefore to their claim continues exposer to the magnet can improve chemical stability, not microbial growth prevention or decrease.

All of your answers have supported our initial thoughts that the magnet cant do magic for fuel chemistry.

Your quick and very informative answer is an example for why it's important for our organization to be part of IASH !
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