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Improving Freight Fire Safety: Analysis of the Effectiveness of Mist-Controlling Additives in Mitigating Crash-Induced Diesel Fires
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    Adding long chained polymers to diesel has been proposed as a method to prevent crash fires by arresting the breakup of diesel fuel into a fine mist in transportation related accidents. The effect of such additives on the flow properties of diesel was investigated by studying the impact of poly-butadiene and diesel blend drops on a solid surface using high speed imaging. The addition of the polymer imparted shear-thinning behavior to diesel, and the base viscosities increased rapidly with polymer concentration. Four concentrations of the polymer were tested at three different impact speeds under atmospheric pressure. Maximum spread factors and spreading velocities of the drops were found to decrease with increasing polymer concentration. This suggests that polymer addition decreases the tendency of diesel to break into smaller droplets. A numerical model of a drop impact process is being developed using FLUENT 12, and will be used to study the non-Newtonian effects in the flow of diesel blended with polymers. Results of these experiments and numerical modeling can facilitate the development of polymers with specific properties to affect the flow of diesel in the desired range of strain rates.

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