The influence of injector coking deposits on the spray field of single-hole mechanical port fuel injectors and multihole common rail direct injection (CRDi) injectors was studied using light scattering technique coupled with image processing and analysis. Instead of employing the traditional accelerated coking process to study injector spray field deterioration, in-service injectors were selected and cleaned using a commercial fuel system cleaning procedure. Variation in atomization characteristics of coked and cleaned injectors were observed based on the spatial distribution of fine, medium, and coarse droplets in the near-field region of the injector spray zone and analyzed as a function of the intensity of scattered light. The improvement in the atomization perceived by this method was compared with traditional techniques like spray cone angle measurement, speed characterization of spray jets, and weight reduction of injector nozzles and needles. It was observed that after the fuel system cleaning procedure, a reduction in the number of coarse droplets in the near-field region and an increase in the number of medium and finely sized droplets was observed, suggesting better atomization of fuel in the near field spray zone.

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