Experimental and Computational Study on Pyrolysis and Combustion of Heavy Fuels and their Upgrading Technologies

  • Paolo Guida

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Engineering applications of unconventional fuels like HFOs require a detailed understanding of the physics associated with their evaporation. The processing of HFOs involves forming a spray; therefore, studying droplets is of particular interest. The work described in this dissertation tackles two of the most obscure aspects associated with HFOs modelling. The first aspect is the identification of a valid chemical description of the structure of the fuel. In particular, the author focused on finding a methodology that allows identifying a discrete surrogate to describe the complex pool of molecules of which the fuels are made. The second part of the work was devoted to understand and model thermally-induced secondary breakup, which is the primary cause of deviation from the "d2" that multi-component droplet experience. The formulation of a surrogate was successfully achieved by developing and implementing a new algorithm that allows building a surrogate from a set of easily accessible physical properties. A new methodology for the post-processing of experimental data was formulated. The methodology consists of studying the evolution of the normalized distance of the interface from the droplet’s centroid instead of its diameter. The new approach allowed the separation between interface deformation and expansion/shrinking. The information was then processed using the dynamic mode decomposition to separate the stochastic contribution associated with secondary atomization and the deterministic contribution of vaporization. Finally, thermally induced secondary atomization was studied using a CFD code appositely developed. The code is based on the geometric Volume of Fluid (VoF) method and consists of a compressible, multi-phase, multi-component solver in which phase change is considered. The novelty in the proposed approach is that the evaporation source term and the surface tension force are evaluated directly from the geometrically reconstructed interface. The code was validated against the exact solution of analytically solvable problems and experimental data. The solver was then used to study HFO secondary breakup and perform a parametric analysis that helped to understand the problem’s physics. A possible application of this framework is the formulation of sub-models to be applied in spray calculations.
Date of AwardSep 2021
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorWilliam Roberts (Supervisor)


  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Evolutionary algorithm
  • heavy fuels
  • atomization

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