Analysis of the Interaction between Soft Particles and Fuel Filter Media
ISSN: 1946-3952, e-ISSN: 1946-3960
Published August 16, 2021 by SAE International in United States
Citation: Csontos, B., Bernemyr, H., Pach, M., and Hittig, H., "Analysis of the Interaction between Soft Particles and Fuel Filter Media," SAE Int. J. Fuels Lubr. 14(3):161-173, 2021, https://doi.org/10.4271/04-14-03-0010.
The transportation industry is currently in a transition toward the use of zero-emission vehicles; however, reaching it will take a considerable amount of time. In the meantime, a diesel powertrain will remain the workhorse for most heavy-duty transportation. In order to reduce the engine’s environmental impact, biofuels, such as biodiesel, are used as drop-in fuels or fuel blends. The use of drop-in fuels may create challenges for the fuel system since sticky deposits can precipitate and cause injector malfunctioning or premature fuel filter plugging. It has been concluded in the past that these deposits have been caused by soft particles. In this article, soft particles created through the degradation of biodiesel and their effect on filters are studied. The article aims to analyze fuel filters and investigate the materials responsible for soft particle separation. The study includes three pre filters and three main filters that are commercially available truck filters. Different membrane types and membranes with different pore sizes were tested in order to comprehend their potential for fuel filtration. The tests were conducted using a custom-built fuel filter rig, where pressure buildup was measured online. The removal efficiency was assessed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and inductively coupled plasma (ICP). The materials of the filters were examined by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy/energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDX), and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The analysis revealed novel results from the interaction of soft particles and different filter media. The filters show similar performance for the commercial fuel filters with respect to soft particle removal and pressure buildup and thus the tendency for fuel filter plugging, where the efficiency for total calcium ion removal was around 40% for pre-filters and 60% for main filters. The material analysis shows that the particles are most likely removed mainly by the cellulose layer of the filter paper, and filters with glass fiber showed higher capacity. In addition, the membrane filters prove to show good potential for soft particle removal, with the highest removal of 72%; however, their use in practice needs to be further evaluated in actual fuel systems.