An experimental study of electrostatically atomized and dispersed diesel fuel jets has been conducted. A new electrostatic injection technique has been utilized to generate continuous, stable fuel sprays at charge densities of 1.5–2.0 C/m3 of fluid. Model calculations show that such charge densities may enhance spray dispersion under diesel engine conditions. Fuel jets were injected into room temperature air at one atmosphere at flow rates of 0.25–1.0 cm3/s and delivery pressures of 100–400 kPa. Measured mean drop diameters were near 150 μm with 30 percent of the droplets being less than 100 μm in diameter at typical operating conditions. The electrical power required to generate these sprays was less than 10−6 times the chemical energy available from the fuel. The spray characteristics of an actual diesel engine injector were also studied. The results show considerable differences in spray characteristics between the diesel injector and electrostatic injection. Finally, ignition and stable combustion of electrostatically dispersed diesel fuel jets was achieved. The results show that electrostatic fuel injection can be achieved at practical flow rates, and that the characteristics of the jet breakup and dispersion have potential application to combustion systems.

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