Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

Document Type



Improving the combustion efficiency of fuels in combustion devices has become imperative in the face of the diminishing rate of the discovery of new energy sources and an ever increasing demand for energy. While there are other ways of improving combustion efficiency, this study investigated the effect of electric field on the combustion of fuel droplets. In order to model the physics of the problem, a mass transfer evaporation model, heat transfer evaporation model and a simple burning droplet model were considered and their result compared to existing result from literature. A burning rate constant of 1.380mm2/s, 14.910mm2/s and 0.612mm2/s was observed for these models respectively compared to 0.597mm2/s, in literature. With the application of an electric field of 4.5kV/cm, it was found theoretically that there was an increment in the burning rate constant from 0.612mm2/s to 0.724mm2/s i.e. an 18.3% increment in the burning rate constant. However, the new burning rate constant reported was a deviation from published experimental result. Varying ambient conditions, assumption of a constant droplet surface temperature are some factors that may have contributed to this disparity. The effect of different electrode configuration on the combustion of fuel was also investigated. Different electrode configurations were modeled and their electric field simulated. Plane, convergent, divergent, cylindrical, elliptical and spherical electrode configurations were studied. The resulting ionic wind for the various configurations at a given electric potential was obtained. The elliptical configuration showed the strongest electric field for a given electric potential. However this did not translate directly into the largest ionic wind velocity magnitude, showing that the ionic wind velocity is not only dependent on the electric field strength but also on the aerodynamic (geometrical) configuration of the electrodes.



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Committee Chair

Charalampopoulos, Tryfon