A team of researchers at Sandia National Laboratories and the Technical University of Denmark have developed a new optical device that can create an image of pollutants in combusting fuel sprays. This device can measure the formation of soot, the particulate matter that primarily consists of carbon, as a function of space and time for a selection of combustion procedures. At first, the researchers concentrated on the combustion of the liquid fuel sprays that are found in engines, where the extreme temperatures and pressures create an environment, which is optically challenging. To meet the future mandates regarding particulate matter emissions without sacrificing their fuel savings, engine manufacturers require advanced combustion strategies for the reduction in soot formation in spray flames.
Scott Skeen, a Sandia researcher, stated that the attained information provides significant insights into the motion of the fuel spray and the quantity and timing of soot formation under a wide array of conditions as well. “The engine developers can utilize this information to corroborate computer models and to design advanced strategies for engine combustion that will enhance fuel economy for customers while also lowering the emissions from tailpipe pollutants,” he added.
The research work has been issued in a paper on Applied Optics, and was chosen as the “Spotlight on Optics” by the Optical Society in July, this year. Anders Ivarsson and Fredrik Westlye from the Technical University of Denmark, Keith Penney, Skeen, and Lyle Pickett from the Sandia National Laboratories, and Julien Manin, a former Sandia researcher. The research work has been funded by the Vehicle Technologies Office of the Department of Energy.