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Mid-America Transportation Center

Improving Freight Fire Safety: Experimental Testing and Computer Modeling to Further Development of Mist-controlling Additives for Fire Mitigation

Final Report
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Researchers

  • Principal Investigator: Albert Ratner (aratner@engineering.uiowa.edu (319)384-0883)
  • Graduate Students
  • Neeraj Mishra
  • Yan Zhang
  • Majid Emadi
  • Project Status
    Complete
    Sponsors & Partners
  • University of Iowa
  • About this Project
    Brief Project Description & Background
    This project will continue to develop the science and technology required to implement fuel additives that improve fire safety for trucks and trains. The polymer-based fuel additives reduce fuel misting in accidents and thereby reduce the chance of fire. Current project work includes both experimental testing and computer simulation.
    Research Objective
    Through a combination of experimental testing, computer simulation, and methodology development, create a method for testing new polymer additives and extracting their non-Newtonian behavior.
    Potential Benefits
    Being able to characterize and classify additive behavior will enable faster and less expensive development of better polymers. This will bring a fire reducing polymer into service quicker.
    Abstract
    Adding long chained polymers to diesel has been proposed as a method to prevent crash fires by arresting the break-up of diesel fuel into a fine mist in transportation-related accidents. The effect of such additives on the flow properties of diesel was investigated by studying the impact of poly-butadiene and diesel blend drops on a solid surface using high speed imaging. The addition of the polymer imparted shear-thinning behavior to diesel, and the base viscosities increased rapidly with polymer concentration. Four concentrations of the polymer were tested at three different impact speeds under atmospheric pressure. Maximum spread factors and spreading velocities of the drops were found to decrease with increasing polymer concentration. This suggests that polymer addition decreases the tendency of diesel to break into smaller droplets. A numerical model of a drop impact process is being developed using FLUENT 12, and will be used to study the non-Newtonian effects in the flow of diesel blended with polymers. Results of these experiments and numerical modeling can facilitate the development of polymers with specific properties to affect the flow of diesel in the desired range of strain rates.
    Project Amount
    $ 77,078
    Modal Orientation
  • Safety and Human Performance
  • Technology Transfer Activities
    This project will continue to develop the science and technology required to implement fuel additives that improve fire safety for trucks and trains. The polymer-based fuel additives reduce fuel misting in accidents and thereby reduce the chance of fire. Current project work includes both experimental testing and computer simulation.