Xiao, K., Pei, C., Swanson, J., Kittelson, D. et al., "An Aerosolization Method for Characterizing Particle Contaminants in Diesel Fuel," SAE Int. J. Fuels Lubr. 6(3):762-771, 2013, doi:10.4271/2013-01-2668.
Diesel fuel injection systems are operating at increasingly higher pressure (up to 250 MPa) with smaller clearances, making them more sensitive to diesel fuel contaminants. Most liquid particle counters have difficulty detecting particles <4 μm in diameter and are unable to distinguish between solid and semi-solid materials. The low conductivity of diesel fuel limits the use of the Coulter counter. This raises the need for a new method to characterize small (<4 μm) fuel contaminants. We propose and evaluate an aerosolization method for characterizing solid particulate matter in diesel fuel that can detect particles as small as 0.5 μm. The particle sizing and concentration performance of the method were calibrated and validated by the use of seed particles added to filtered diesel fuel. A size dependent correction method was developed to account for the preferential atomization and subsequent aerosol conditioning processes to obtain the liquid-borne particle concentration. Finally the method was used to evaluate a diesel fuel sample after filtration through a laboratory grade filter to demonstrate the practical application of the method.