Detailed assessment of diesel spray atomization models using visible and X-ray extinction measurements

G. M. Magnotti, C. L. Genzale*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The physical mechanisms characterizing the breakup of a diesel spray into droplets are still unknown. This gap in knowledge has largely been due to the challenges of directly imaging this process or quantitatively measuring the outcomes of spray breakup, such as droplet size. Recent x-ray measurements by Argonne National Laboratory, utilized in this work, provide needed information about the spatial evolution of droplet sizes in selected regions of the spray under a range of injection pressures (50–150 MPa) and ambient densities (7.6–22.8 kg/m3) relevant for diesel operating conditions. Ultra-small angle x-ray scattering (USAXS) measurements performed at the Advanced Photon Source are presented, which quantify Sauter mean diameters (SMD) within optically thick regions of the spray that are inaccessible by conventional droplet sizing measurement techniques, namely in the near-nozzle region, along the spray centerline, and within the core of the spray. To quantify droplet sizes along the periphery of the spray, a complementary technique is proposed and introduced, which leverages the ratio of path-integrated x-ray and visible laser extinction (SAMR) measurements to quantify SMD. The SAMR and USAXS measurements are then utilized to evaluate current spray models used for engine computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulations. We explore the ability of a carefully calibrated spray model, premised on aerodynamic wave growth theory, to capture the experimentally observed trends of SMD throughout the spray. The spray structure is best predicted with an aerodynamic primary and secondary breakup process that is represented with a slower time constant and larger formed droplet size than conventionally recommended for diesel spray models. Additionally, spray model predictions suggest that droplet collisions may not influence the resultant droplet size distribution along the spray centerline in downstream regions of the spray.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-45
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Multiphase Flow
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Droplet sizing measurements
  • Engine Combustion Network (ECN)
  • Spray breakup modeling
  • Visible laser extinction
  • X-ray radiography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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