Diesel engines are widely used across the globe and offer efficiency benefits when compared to their gasoline fueled counterparts. However they also present a significant set of emissions challenges, especially with regards to particulate emissions. The Union College Aerogel Lab is examining aerogels’ suitability as a filter material for reducing the particulate (soot) output of diesel. Diesel particulate filters (DPFs) are widely being adopted as a particulate emission control strategy on diesel engines, and aerogels have unique physical properties such as their nonporous structure, their high surface area, and their ability to withstand high temperatures, which might lead to improved performance DPFs.
This project focuses on continuing our lab’s work to develop and test a benchtop /lab scale apparatus that can controllably and repeatedly introduce simulated soot onto small sample aerogel filters. To date three soot simulants (copy machine toner, lampblack, and Printex U a commercial powered black pigment) have been tested. These three simulants have been imaged under a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and differences in the collection patterns between them have been observed. Furthermore the ability of soot laden DPFs to survive repeated regeneration (accomplished by burning off the accumulated soot at high temperatures) has been investigated. Additionally improvements have been made in the prototype apparatus’ ability to controllably feed these simulants into a gas flow and deposit them into the aerogel DPFs. Finally, current work is also focused on adding capability to the apparatus by developing improved methodologies to allow it to measure the collection efficiency of aerogel DPFs. This poster provides an update on the progress made to date in developing this apparatus, and outlines initial results obtained through its use.