Optical investigation on the ability of a cordierite substrate mixing device to combat deposits in SCR dosing systems

Selective catalytic reduction (SCR) has become the mainstream approach for removing heavy-duty (HD) diesel engine NOx emissions. Highly efficient SCR systems are a key enabling technology allowing engines to be calibrated for very high NOx output with a resultant gain in fuel consumption while still maintaining NOx emissions compliance. One key to the successful implementation of high efficiency SCR at elevated engine out NOx levels is the ability to introduce significantly more AdBlue into the exhaust flow while still ensuring complete ammonia production and avoiding the formation of deposits. This paper presents a body of experimental work conducted on an exhaust test bench using optical techniques including high-speed imaging and phase Doppler interferometry (PDI), applied under representative exhaust conditions to a HD diesel engine after-treatment system with optical access inside the mixer tube. Two different sprays were used to dose AdBlue onto the mixing device. A three-hole injector and a single-hole pressure-swirl injector were characterised in ambient and heated exhaust flow conditions. A metallic two-stage mixer and an uncoated cordierite ceramic substrate mixer were compared and demonstrated the ability of the substrate mixer to reduce deposit formation at higher dosing rates inside the mixer tube when used with the correct spray type. High-speed imaging revealed the ability of the substrate to absorb injected AdBlue spray at cooler exhaust temperatures. However, using the incorrect spray can lead to liquid saturation inside the substrate channels, which is detrimental due to the formation of deposits on the rear face of the substrate.