Analysis of Thermally Induced Breakup of Ultrasonically Emulsified Heavy Fuel Oil using Dynamic Mode Decomposition

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Clean and efficient processing of heavy fuels is a major challenge for several combustion driven prime movers like internal combustion engines, used in marine or power generation sectors. Emulsification was recognized in the past as practical technology for heavy fuels combustion since it engenders an enabling phenomenon called micro-explosion that proceeds during the spray process. Micro-explosions allow finer secondary break-up, leading to improved mixing, and subsequent cleaner and fuller burning. However, the translation of this technology to real applications is still not fully exploited due to lack of basic understanding and characterization of the evaporation process which includes both micro-explosions and puffing. Ultrasonically induced cavitation is a promising technology for the production of water-in-oil emulsions at industrial scale. Fundamental research performed in the field of liquid fuels gasification and combustion mostly regards ideal or simple mixtures and not all the considerations made in these cases apply for real fuels. In this work, we investigated the evaporation characteristics of ultrasonically produced heavy fuel oil (HFO) emulsions with a set of newly developed methodologies. We characterized the emulsions by using a state-of-the-art microscopy technique, the Cryogenic Scanning Electron Microscopy, Cryo- SEM and obtained accurate droplet size distribution up to nano-scale. We tested the fuel emulsion in a suspended droplet experiment and reconstructed the interface from the obtained images. The normalized squared diameter profile is not representative of the complex physics involved in heavy fuel evaporation; therefore, it was substituted with the normalized distance of the interface from the centroid of the droplet. By using this procedure, it is possible to highlight both evaporation and stochastic events like puffing and ejections. A dimensionality reduction algorithm, the dynamic mode decomposition (DMD), was then performed on the evolving interface to highlight the main modes describing the emulsion system and the dynamics. The overall objective was to develop a strategy for optimizing emulsions for improved combustion performance. From the experimental data, it was observed that a water concentration of 5% by mass decreases the vaporization time of the mixture and that the presence of water favors puffing and ejections with different intensity depending on the percentage of water enhancing the volatilization of the fuel.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120815
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
StatePublished - Dec 16 2020

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-12-24
Acknowledgements: This work was sponsored by the competitive research funding from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)


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