Experimental investigations on nucleation, bubble growth, and micro-explosion characteristics during the combustion of ethanol/Jet A-1 fuel droplets

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Abstract

The combustion characteristics of ethanol/Jet A-1 fuel droplets having three different proportions of ethanol (10%, 30%, and 50% by vol.) are investigated in the present study. The large volatility differential between ethanol and Jet A-1 and the nominal immiscibility of the fuels seem to result in combustion characteristics that are rather different from our previous work on butanol/Jet A-1 droplets (miscible blends). Abrupt explosion was facilitated in fuel droplets comprising lower proportions of ethanol (10%), possibly due to insufficient nucleation sites inside the droplet and the partially unmixed fuel mixture. For the fuel droplets containing higher proportions of ethanol (30% and 50%), micro-explosion occurred through homogeneous nucleation, leading to the ejection of secondary droplets and subsequent significant reduction in the overall droplet lifetime. The rate of bubble growth is nearly similar in all the blends of ethanol; however, the evolution of ethanol vapor bubble is significantly faster than that of a vapor bubble in the blends of butanol. The probability of disruptive behavior is considerably higher in ethanol/Jet A-1 blends than that of butanol/Jet A-1 blends. The Sauter mean diameter of the secondary droplets produced from micro-explosion is larger for blends with a higher proportion of ethanol. Both abrupt explosion and micro-explosion create a large-scale distortion of the flame, which surrounds the parent droplet. The secondary droplets generated from abrupt explosion undergo rapid evaporation whereas the secondary droplets from micro-explosion carry their individual flame and evaporate slowly. The growth of vapor bubble was also witnessed in the secondary droplets, which leads to the further breakup of the droplet (puffing/micro-explosion).

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Rao, D. C. K., Syam, S., Karmakar, S., & Joarder, R. (2017). Experimental investigations on nucleation, bubble growth, and micro-explosion characteristics during the combustion of ethanol/Jet A-1 fuel droplets. Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science, 89, 284–294. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.expthermflusci.2017.08.025

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