Positron Emission Particle Tracking (PEPT) for the analysis of water motion in a domestic dishwasher

R. Pérez-mohedano, N. Letzelter, C. Amador, C.t. Vanderroest, S. Bakalis

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Motion of water inside a household dishwasher has been characterised via Positron Emission Particle Tracking (PEPT). The technique enables the visualisation of the motion of a radioactive tracer in three-dimensional and opaque systems. Results showed a periodic sequence of the water over time, encompassing the following steps: movement inside internal equipment and spray arm, ejection via jets, impact over walls and crockery, downfall (either over walls, crockery or free falling) and recirculation of the bulk water from the bottom of the dishwasher. This sequence was shown to occur within a few seconds and the highest velocities, and therefore, the highest kinetic energies, were found upon ejection. Jet paths were observed to follow a straight line. Increased pump speeds increased velocity ejection profiles, but the effect over the downfall step was negligible. In fully loaded dishwasher (with crockery), the tracer moved slower in these high packing zones, showing low velocity profile areas with higher residence times. Other stagnant areas were found at the edges of the bulk of water remaining at the bottom of the dishwasher. Use of detergent did not seem to affect water motion. Finally, data generated via CFD was compared with equivalent PEPT data, showing good agreement for the spray arm and ejection steps but disagreement in the free falling step. The divergences in the results can be explained by a combination of PEPT data processing and CFD model constraints. Information gathered is helping the development of more sustainable and efficient dishwashing systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)724-736
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Early online date20 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Positron Emission Particle Tracking (PEPT)
  • Automatic dishwashing
  • Fluid mechanics
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
  • Radioactive tracer


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