A new optical device at Sandia National Laboratories that helps researchers image pollutants in combusting fuel sprays might lead to clearer skies in the future.
An optical setup developed by researchers at Sandia’s Combustion Research Facility and the Technical University of Denmark can now quantify the formation of soot — particulate matter consisting primarily of carbon — as a function of time and space for a variety of combustion processes. Initially, the researchers have focused on the combustion of liquid fuel sprays found in engines, where the extreme pressures and temperatures create an environment that is optically challenging.
To meet future particulate matter emissions mandates without sacrificing fuel savings, engine developers need advanced combustion strategies to reduce the formation of soot in spray flames.
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Photo: Sandia National Laboratories researchers Scott Skeen, left, and Lyle Pickett, center, and former Sandia researcher Julien Manin discuss a new optical device developed at Sandia that can quantify the formation of soot. (Photo by Dino Vournas)