The implementation of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) coolers has recently been a widespread methodology for engine in-cylinder NOX reduction. A common problem with the use of EGR coolers is the tendency for a deposit, or fouling layer to form through thermophoresis. These deposit layers consist of soot and volatiles and reduce the effectiveness of heat exchangers at decreasing exhaust gas outlet temperatures, subsequently increasing engine out NOX emission.
This paper presents results from a novel visualization rig that allows for the development of a deposit layer while providing optical and infrared access. A 24-hour, 379 micron thick deposit layer was developed and characterized with an optical microscope, an infrared camera, and a thermogravimetric analyzer. The in-situ thermal conductivity of the deposit layer was calculated to be 0.047 W/mK. Volatiles from the layer were then evaporated off and the layer reanalyzed. Results suggest that volatile bake-out can significantly alter the thermo-physical properties of the deposit layer and hypotheses are presented as to how.