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Title: A theoretical and experimental investigation of the flow performance of automotive catalytic converters
Author: Haimad, N.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3524 1259
Awarding Body: Coventry University
Current Institution: Coventry University
Date of Award: 1997
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Considerable research is being carried out into the parameters that affect catalyst performance in order to meet the latest emission regulations. The conversion efficiency and the durability of automotive catalytic converters are significantly dependent on catalyst flow performance. Related investigations are commonly conducted using CFD techniques which represent an inexpensive and fast alternative to experimental methods. This thesis focuses on the flow performance of automotive catalytic converters using both experimental and computational techniques. The work describes the effects of inlet flow conditions on catalyst performance, the application of radial vanes to catalyst systems and the refinement of the CFD flow model which increases the accuracy of the predicted catalyst flow performance. the effects of inlet flow conditions on the flow maldistribution across the catalyst face and the total pressure loss through the system were assessed using a steady air flow rig. Tests were conducted over a range of Reynolds numbers typically encountered in automotive catalytic converters using a uniform and a fully-developed inlet flow condition. The results showed that the flow maldistribution significantly increases with Reynolds number notably in wide-angled diffusers. The catalyst flow performance is considerably improved when the inlet flow is uniform rather than fully-developed, the non-dimensional total pressure loss is reduced by 8% at Re=60000 and the flow maldistribution across the catalyst face is decreased by 12.5% and 15% respective Reynolds numbers of 30000 and 60000 when using a 60 degree diffuser. The total pressure loss through the system was found to be mostly associated with the monolith brick resistance. When the flow maldistribution is approximately 2, the pressure loss across the monolith brick represents 80% of the system pressure loss. The flow maldistribution across the catalyst face was improved by locating a system of radial splitters in the diffuser. The optimum flow performance was found to be a complex function of the vane design. A maximum improvement in the flow maldistrution indices M and Mi of 25% and 50% respectively was achieved at the expense of an increase in total pressure loss of 13.5% at Re = 60000. Both CFD and flow visualisation techniques were used as an aid to interpreting the flow field in the diffuser. Although a qualitative agreement was obtained using CFD, the flow maldistribution across the catalyst face was underpredected by up to 20%. The accuracy of the flow predictions was significantly improved by investigating the flow field in the monolith channels. Flow recirculation occurs in the channel entry length when the flow approaches the monolith channels at an angle which induces an additional implemented into four models of the flow through axisymmetric catalyst assemblies using various diffuser geometries and inlet flow conditions. By including the flow entrance effects in the porous media approach, the flow maldistribution was predicted within 8% instead of 15% when these effects are neglected. Further investigation of the flow in the monolith channels will be required to accurately model three-dimentional flows (racetrack catalysts) and to include various channel geometries and system flow rates.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: catalytic converters ; automobile ; catalyst flow studies ; diffuser performance ; mathematical modelling ; monolith bricks ; inlet flow ; radial splitters ; Automobiles--Catalytic converters