Quantitative analysis of dribble volumes and rates using three-dimensional reconstruction of X-ray and diffused back-illumination images of diesel sprays

Post-injection fuel dribble is known to lead to incomplete atomisation and combustion due to the release of slow-moving, and often surface-bound, liquid fuel after the end of injection. This can have a negative effect on engine emissions, performance and injector durability. To better quantify this phenomenon, we developed an image-processing approach to measure the volume of ligaments produced during the end of injection. We applied our processing approach to an Engine Combustion Network ‘Spray B’ 3-hole injector, using datasets from 220 injections generated by different research groups, to decouple the effect of gas temperature and pressure on the fuel dribble process. High-speed X-ray phase-contrast images obtained at room temperature conditions (297 K) at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, together with diffused back-illumination images captured at a wide range of temperature conditions (293–900 K) by CMT Motores Térmicos were analysed and compared quantitatively. We found a good agreement between image sets obtained by Argonne National Laboratory and CMT Motores Térmicos using different imaging techniques. The maximum dribble volume within the field of view of the imaging system and the mean rate of fuel dribble were considered as characteristic parameters of the fuel dribble process. Analysis showed that the absolute mean dribble rate increases with temperature when injection pressure is higher than 1000 bar and slightly decreases at high injection pressures (>500 bar) when temperature is close to 293 K. Larger maximum volumes of the fuel dribble were observed at lower gas temperatures (∼473 K) and low gas pressures (<30 bar), with a slight dependence on injection pressure.