Inadequacy of optical smoke measurements for characterization of non-light absorbing particulate matter emissions from gas turbine engines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • L. Rye
  • P. Lobo
  • P. I. Williams
  • I. Uryga-Bugajska
  • S. Christie
  • C. Wilson
  • D. Hagen
  • P. Whitefield
  • H. Coe
  • D. Raper
  • M. Pourkashanian

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Sheffield University
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • University of Manchester
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
  • University of Leeds
  • Department of Mechanical Engineering


Analysis of particulate matter (PM) emissions from gas turbine engines, using the conventional smoke number (SN) technique, provides a measure of plume visibility. In this study, PM emissions were sampled from the exhaust of a small gas turbine engine, burning Jet A-1, and Biodiesel. SN results indicated that biodiesel significantly reduced visible emissions. Analysis of PM number and mass concentrations using a differential mobility spectrometer found that although nonvolatile PM was significantly reduced, biodiesel combustion produced a high fraction of volatile PM. Concurrent aerosol mass spectrometer measurements established that the condensable material was organic in composition. The condensation of volatile organics, not captured by the SN technique, significantly increased the total PM emissions. Application of the Society of Automotive Engineers Aerospace Recommended Practice 1179d for gas turbine engines is limited to visible plume characterization and thus is inadequate when combustion produces a large fraction of volatile or non-light absorbing PM emissions.

Bibliographic note

Funding Information: This work was separately funded by the Shell Petroleum Company and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). FAA funding was provided through the Partnership for AiR Transportation for Noise and Emissions Reduction (PARTNER)—a FAA-Transport Canada-NASA-sponsored Center of Excellence Project 34 under Grant No. 07-C-NE-UMR Amendment 009 (Carl Ma, Project Manager). Copyright: Copyright 2013 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2068-2083
Number of pages16
JournalCombustion Science and Technology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012


  • Biodiesel, Gas turbine, Jet A-1, Particulate matter, Smoke number