Probing the Evaporation Dynamics of Ethanol/Gasoline Biofuel Blends Using Single Droplet Manipulation Techniques

Stella Corsetti*, Rachael E H Miles, Craig McDonald, Yuri Belotti, Jonathan P. Reid, Johannes Kiefer, David McGloin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Using blends of bioethanol and gasoline as automotive fuel leads to a net decrease in the production of harmful emission compared to the use of pure fossil fuel. However, fuel droplet evaporation dynamics change depending on the mixing ratio. Here we use single particle manipulation techniques to study the evaporation dynamics of ethanol/gasoline blend microdroplets. The use of an electrodynamic balance enables measurements of the evaporation of individual droplets in a controlled environment, while optical tweezers facilitate studies of the behavior of droplets inside a spray. Hence, the combination of both methods is perfectly suited to obtain a complete picture of the evaporation process. The influence of adding varied amounts of ethanol to gasoline is investigated, and we observe that droplets with a greater fraction of ethanol take longer to evaporate. Furthermore, we find that our methods are sensitive enough to observe the presence of trace amounts of water in the droplets. A theoretical model, predicting the evaporation of ethanol and gasoline droplets in dry nitrogen gas, is used to explain the experimental results. Also a theoretical estimation of the saturation of the environment, with other aerosols, in the tweezers is carried out.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12797-12804
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number51
Publication statusPublished - 24 Dec 2015


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