Biodiesel has proved to be an attractive alternative fuel for the compression-ignition engine, with its blends of regular petrodiesel being sold at virtually every gas station in the United States. Researchers have explored many of its combustion properties and sought to modify them in the interest of better fuel economy, specific fuel combustion, and lower emissions. The emulsification of biodiesel with water in order to promote microexplosions during the combustion process is one such fuel modification method. Microexplosions fragment the fuel droplet into many smaller droplets, which promote homogeneous combustion, and can result in smoother power output and better fuel economy. Present research analyzes the droplet combustion properties of soy biodiesel with 10% water and 0.1% POLYOX™ polymer. A sub-millimeter droplet is suspended on three 16μm silicon carbide wires and ignited using hot wire loops. The combustion process is recorded at 1000 frames/second by a high-speed CCD camera. Combustion behavior of the emulsified fuel is then analyzed by post-processing the resulting high-speed images. Results show several microexplosion events. Combustion trends are plotted, and combustion rates are determined. Burning rate for the emulsion was found to be very close to that of base fuel, with 2.1% decrease noted. It is hoped that present research will spark further interest in the fuel behavior modification of biodiesel.

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