Nanofuel Droplet Evaporation Processes

  • Nwabueze G. EmekwuruEmail author
Review Article


The concern about the level of toxic emissions from the use of fossil fuels in internal combustion engines is widely held. Several alternatives have been suggested to mitigate this concern including the use of biofuels in the engines, hybrid internal combustion–electric power systems and electric propulsion systems. In the last decade there has been progress with adding nano-sized particle additives to hydrocarbon fuels with the aim of improving the thermo-physical properties. The nano-sized metallic particles increase the surface-to-volume ratio of the resultant nanofuel suspensions. Reductions in the emissions levels from the combustion of these nanofuels have been reported; these improvements derive from the reductions in ignition delay, and therefore, higher burning rates arising from increases in the evaporation rates of the fuel droplets. Thus, droplet evaporation mechanisms influence the ignition time of the droplets, and consequently the ignition delay time. Optimizing these parameters can help to reduce the emissions from the internal combustion engines. The study presented here examines the up-to-date results of work carried out by various researchers on the droplet evaporation mechanisms of nanofuel droplets. The predominant processes presented as being responsible for the enhancement of the droplet evaporation rate are that the nanoparticle additives increase the droplet fuel temperature by radiative absorption, and that at high temperature values the agglomerates of the nanoparticles heat up residuals of the liquid fuel causing fuel droplet disruptions and micro-explosions. The various parameters that affect these and other nanofuel droplet evaporation mechanisms are presented. A case is made for further studies in this area.


Atomization Droplet combustion Droplet disruption Droplet dry-out Droplet evaporation Droplet radiative absorption Energetic fuels Micro-explosion Nano-sized particles Nanofluids Nanofuels 

List of Symbols




Aluminum oxide


Transfer number


Carbon nanoparticles

D, d

Droplet diameter, m

D0, d0

Initial droplet diameter, m


Droplet diameter at the end of the heat-up phase, m


Internal combustion engine


Thermal conductivity, J/m s k


Latent heat of fuel vaporization, J/kg


Multiwalled carbon nanotubes




Ambient pressure, kPa


Particle loading rate, wt%


Temperature, K


Time, s


Percentage by weight


Specific heat at constant pressure, J/kg K

Greek Symbols


Duration of the droplet evaporation heat-up period, s


Duration of the droplet evaporation steady-state period, s


Dynamic viscosity, kg/m s


Evaporation constant, m2/s


Evaporation constant, m2/s


Evaporation constant, m2/s


Density, kg/m3



Droplet evaporation steady-state period


Droplet evaporation heat-up period


Initial value


Value at the fuel droplet surface

Ambient value



This work was supported by the University Grant Commission—UK India Education and Research Initiative CHAPNA project: UGC-UKIERI 2016-17-050.


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Copyright information

© Indian Institute of Science 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Automotive EngineeringCoventry UniversityCoventryUK

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