High-resolution large eddy simulations of cavitating gasoline-ethanol blends

Daniel Duke, David P. Schmidt, Kshitij Neroorkar, Alan L Kastengren, Christopher F Powell

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Cavitation plays an important role in the formation of sprays in fuel injection systems. With the increasing use of gasoline-ethanol blends, there is a need to understand how changes in fluid properties due to the use of these fuels can alter cavitation behavior. Gasoline-ethanol blends are azeotropic mixtures whose properties are difficult to model. We have tabulated the thermodynamic properties of gasoline-ethanol blends using a method developed for flash-boiling simulations. The properties of neat gasoline and ethanol were obtained from National Institute of Standards and Technology REFPROP data, and blends from 0% to 85% ethanol by mass have been tabulated. We have undertaken high-resolution three-dimensional numerical simulations of cavitating flow in a 500-μm-diameter submerged nozzle using the in-house HRMFoam homogeneous relaxation model constructed from the OpenFOAM toolkit. The simulations are conducted at 1 MPa inlet pressure and atmospheric outlet pressure, corresponding to a cavitation number range of 1.066-1.084 and a Reynolds number range of 15,000-40,000. For the pure gasoline case, the numerical simulations are compared with synchrotron X-ray radiography measurements. Despite significant variation in the fluid properties, the distribution of cavitation vapor in the nozzle is relatively unaffected by the gasoline-ethanol ratio. The vapor remains attached to the nozzle wall, resulting in an unstable annular two-phase jet in the outlet. Including turbulence at the conditions studied does not significantly change mixing behavior, because the thermal nonequilibrium at the vapor-liquid interfaces acts to low-pass filter the turbulent fluctuations in both the nozzle boundary layer and jet mixing layer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)578-589
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Engine Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • ethanol
  • gasoline
  • HRMFoam
  • OpenFOAM
  • X-ray radiography

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