Octane number or octane Rating is the measurement of the ability of a fuel to resist knocking when ignited in an internal combustion engine. Knock occurs when fuel is prematurely ignited in the engine’s cylinder, which degrades the efficiency of an engine and in a severe case can damage the engine.
It is measured by comparing the knocking intensity of a fuel with the blend of two reference fuels iso-octane with rating 100 and n-heptane with rating 0. For example, gasoline with the same knocking characteristics as a mixture of 90% iso-octane and 10% heptane would have an octane rating of 90.
High octane rating is required to avoid knock, for high efficiency of an engine, lower emissions, and complete burning of a fuel. Knocking occurs when unburned fuel and air mixture auto ignites in the engine.