Droplet Evaporation-Based Approach for Microliter Fuel Property Measurements

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Small-volume, high-throughput screening techniques are sought to enable downselection from a large candidate pool of bio-blendstocks to a select few, having physical properties consistent with requirements of downsized, turbo-boosted internal combustion engines. This work presents a droplet evaporation-based approach to predict heat of vaporization, vapor pressure, diffusion coefficient, and Lennard-Jones parameters for an unknown fuel. Two different schemes, considering the isothermal evaporation of a moving droplet in ambient air, are proposed, which combine droplet velocity and temperature measurements, with some known properties to predict unknown properties. The schemes utilize an inverse solution of a transient model of droplet evaporation solved in an iterative fashion. A baseline scheme, which only requires droplet size change measurements, is evaluated using test data for three liquid fuels, comprising of alkanes and alcohols, as obtained in a temperature-controlled chamber. Results yield temperature-dependent heat of vaporization and vapor pressure predictions within 10 % and 22 %, respectively, of reference values. The advanced scheme, which additionally requires droplet temperature measurement, is numerically evaluated in the current work and will be experimentally validated in future efforts. The advanced scheme is found to significantly improve prediction quality, with deviations less than 2 % and 1 % for heat of vaporization and vapor pressure, while also predicting diffusion coefficient and Lennard-Jones parameters within 5 % and 8 %, respectively. The combined set of approaches, which primarily track droplet evaporation, can be incorporated into a small-volume, high-throughput fuel screening process.

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