Interrogating the surface: The effect of blended diesel fuels on lubricity

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The lubricating properties of two sustainable alternative diesels blended with ultra low sulphur diesel (ULSD) were investigated. The candidate fuels were a biodiesel consisting of fatty acid methyl esters derived from rapeseed (RME) and gas-to-liquid (GTL). Lubricity tests were conducted on a high frequency reciprocating rig (HFRR). The mating specimen surfaces were analysed using optical microscopy and profilometery for wear scar diameters and profiles respectively. Microscopic surface topography and deposit composition was evaluated using a scanning electronic microscope (SEM) with an energy dispersive spectrometer (EDS). Like all modern zero sulphur diesel fuel (ZSD), GTL fuels need a lubricity agent to meet modern lubricity specifications. It has been proven that GTL responds well to typical lubricity additives in the marketplace. The lubricity of ULSD, GTL and blends of these fuels were significantly improved with the addition of as little as 10% volume of RME, inducing more stable hydrodynamic conditions. Topography measurements showed the formation of a residue when RME was blended in the base fuels and composition analysis indicated a predominately carbon formation on the worn surfaces that correlated with wear scar diameters. On the other hand, the test disc under GTL lubrication showed the smooth and residue free surface. The optimal proportion of blended fuel that created the smallest wear scar diameter was 70% GTL, 20% ULSD and 10% RME.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-162
Number of pages9
JournalSAE International Journal of Fuels and Lubricants
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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