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Fuel effects on the electrostatic control of charged droplet trajectories

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The use of electrostatic fields to control the trajectory of charged droplets is investigated as a new technology to enhance mixing in liquid-fuelled combustors. The canonical configuration of a spray in crossflow is numerically studied with a focus on the effects of the fuel type on the onset of charge-induced breakup and droplet trajectories for a range of bulk flow velocities and electrostatic field strengths at conditions relevant to gas turbine applications. The investigated fuels are ethanol, n-heptane, and n-decane. Operational maps for each fuel are provided to assist the selection of the external electrostatic field required to achieve a balance between the drag and electrostatic forces, and enable a system design that considers fuel flexibility. The results demonstrate that the fuel type has an important impact on the diameter at which the charge-induced breakup is achieved, which mainly depends on the droplet equilibrium temperature. It is also shown that, for cases where the droplet net charge is fixed to a given fraction of the maximum possible charge (based on the Rayleigh limit), the temperature of the droplet at injection could be used as a parameter to control the onset of secondary breakup. Analysis of the strength of the electrostatic field necessary to achieve droplet stabilisation in a bulk flow shows that a balance between the electrostatic and drag forces can only be achieved for relatively low values of the bulk flow velocity, if the strength of the electrostatic field is kept below the breakdown limit of the carrier phase. This balance mainly depends on the droplet net charge and flow conditions, whereas the effect of the type of fuel on the drag force is less important. When the charge is imposed as a fraction of the maximum possible value at injection, for low values of the bulk flow velocity, the strength of the electrostatic field that balances the drag tends to become independent of the droplet diameter for a wide range of droplet sizes. Further investigation of the trajectories of evaporating droplets demonstrates that, although affected by the type of fuel through the evaporation rate, with the same settings of the electrostatic field, it is possible to achieve evaporation in a confined region for all the fuels and ambient conditions studied in this work once the initial droplet charge and initial droplet diameter are fixed. The present findings offer new insights for the development of future technologies for fuel preparation with enhanced mixing and fuel flexibility.



40 Engineering, 4017 Mechanical Engineering

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Elsevier BV