Tribology Of Combustion Generated Soot
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Soot is a carbonaceous materials produced as a result of incomplete combustion of fuels (gasoline, diesel, etc). At the present level of automobile technology, emission of soot from combustion in diesel engine appears to be an inevitability. The disadvantage in the diesel combustion is that it is not homogeneous throughout the cylinder. So the fuel-air ratio cannot be maintained constant throughout the flame zone and hence rich combustion zone leads to the formation of soot. Diesel engine combustion processes produce a large amount of soot, which is one of the major pollutant emissions of the exhaust systems. The fraction of combustion particulate, which is soot, is often estimated by finding the insoluble portion of the particulate. Hydrocarbons or other available molecules may also condense on or beads orbed by soot depending on the surrounding conditions. Other particulate matter constituents include partially burned fuel/lubricant oil bound water, wear metal and fuel derived sulfate. In diesel engine lubrication, soot has long been recognized as the major contaminant that is detrimental to engine lubrication, particularly in friction and wear. Different techniques for soot abatement have been investigated by researchers from the field of combustion and fuel. In spite of the large numbers of investigations of soot formation conducted till date, there is relatively little quantitative information is available about the mechanisms and governing rate processes. Some of the studies focused on the combustion chemistry of soot formation while some emphasized on engine design. On the other hand comparatively a few research works are coming out from the tribological point of view. Considering that internal combustion engines play such an important role in industry, investigative research of the parametric influences of particle size, agglomeration, oil viscosity, additives and surfactant as well as chemistry and electrical properties of particles on wear as well as into the wear mechanisms have not perhaps been as extensive as it is detrimental. Existence of a large numbers of variables in tribological contacts makes the situation very complex and difficult to analyze it quantitatively. In this complex scenario, where many opposed effects are playing their roles in soot tribology, the influence of the physical, structural and mechanical properties of soot on engine tribology has limited attention. We focus our study on one of the end effects of engine soot; friction and wear of the engine components. Since a diesel engine is not particularly suitable for use in a laboratory study of the fundamental processes and parameters of combustion due to its inherent difficulties on control and safety as well as data analysis uncertainty, so the most useful studies of soot fundamentals have emerged from studies of processes which have used simplified environments such as diffusion flames. We focus on soot tribology in steel-on-steel interaction in the presence of soot material suspended in relatively simple paraffinic hydrocarbons, hexadecane; with and without an additive. The physical, structural, chemical and mechanical properties of the particle and their changes as a function of tribological parameters are monitored throughout this study. Three type of soot are used in this work. Firstly, commercial grade carbon blacks has been used as soot simulant. Secondly, to enable controlled variations of the physical, mechanical, chemical and geometrical parameters of the particles, soot is generated in-situ by burning ethylene gas and the particles are extracted thermophoretically from different thermal zones of the flame. Thirdly, to establish the validity of the study, two types of diesel soots are extracted from an engine and studied. The objective is to use such an understanding to elucidate the basic mechanisms of friction and wear in the presence of soot which may limit the performance of a diesel engine. From our study we find that these soots have widely different morphologies, crystallographic orders and reactivity. At tribological contact the soot agglomerates fragment to primary level particles. The physical and chemical properties of such particles determine the friction between and wear of mating components. If the soot is strongly graphitic, the friction and wear are moderate. If the soot is made of chemically active organic groups, the friction and wear are high. The hardness, friction and resistance to material removal of the soot collected near the flame tip and diesel soot are found to be high compared to the other types of soot. Besides, the high hardness, irregular primary particle shape, large inter-particle adhesion leading to agglomeration and more abrasive nature of diesel soot influence the metal wear adversely. This trend of soot tribology is profound when these soots are suitably dispersed in the oil by the addition of dispersants, in our case it is polyisobutylene succinimide. Different functional groups present on the soot surface play important role in defining the interaction between surrounding medium and contacts which, in turn define the contact conditions, particle/agglomerate behavior and soot tribology. Finally, agglomeration is simulated using the features of a dissipative particle dynamics package as the simulation technique. Simulations are performed on a sizeable number of particles to observe agglomeration behavior, on simple environment, in future which can be further extended.
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