Fundamental Mechanisms of Fuel and Water Separation, 08-9489

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Principal Investigators
Gary Bessee
Scott Hutzler
Neal Vail
Vic Hughes (Consultant)

Inclusive Dates: 07/25/04 - Current

Background - The two main contaminants in aviation and diesel fuels are water and particulate. This study will investigate only the aspects of water contamination and the interactions of fuel additives on interfacial tension. Traditional test methods do not address the effects of fuel additives when evaluating water-removal devices, i.e., coalescers, separators, and strippers. When testing the fuel to determine if it meets the test method specification, interfacial tension (IFT) is usually the only parameter requiring determination. However, previous testing from several SwRI cooperative research and development programs has shown that two fuels with the same interfacial tension can have markedly different water removal results.

Aviation and diesel fuels contain a variety of additives to improve certain physical properties. For aviation fuels, these additives can include anti-static dissipaters, corrosion inhibitors, metal deactivators, fuel system anti-icing, and thermal stability. For diesel fuels, the additives can include lubricity enhancers, pour point depressants, cetane number, corrosion inhibitors, thermal and storage stability, and detergents.

Approach - The objective of this project is to develop a fundamental understanding of the effects of additives on the performance properties of fuels using molecular and mesoscale modeling combined with experiments.

Accomplishments - The following items were accomplished to date.

  • Model fuel system definition
  • Identification of additives for study
  • Parameter estimation for mesoscale models of fuel water systems
  • Mesoscale simulation of model fuel system
  • Model fuel system

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