Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Chemical Engineering


Jason M. Keith


Due to their high thermal efficiency, diesel engines have excellent fuel economy and have been widely used as a power source for many vehicles. Diesel engines emit less greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide) compared with gasoline engines. However, diesel engines emit large amounts of particulate matter (PM) which can imperil human health. The best way to reduce the particulate matter is by using the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) system which consists of a wall-flow monolith which can trap particulates, and the DPF can be periodically regenerated to remove the collected particulates.

The estimation of the PM mass accumulated in the DPF and total pressure drop across the filter are very important in order to determine when to carry out the active regeneration for the DPF. In this project, by developing a filtration model and a pressure drop model, we can estimate the PM mass and the total pressure drop, then, these two models can be linked with a regeneration model which has been developed previously to predict when to regenerate the filter.

There results of this project were:

1 Reproduce a filtration model and simulate the processes of filtration. By studying the deep bed filtration and cake filtration, stages and quantity of mass accumulated in the DPF can be estimated. It was found that the filtration efficiency increases faster during the deep-bed filtration than that during the cake filtration. A “unit collector” theory was used in our filtration model which can explain the mechanism of the filtration very well.

2 Perform a parametric study on the pressure drop model for changes in engine exhaust flow rate, deposit layer thickness, and inlet temperature. It was found that there are five primary variables impacting the pressure drop in the DPF which are temperature gradient along the channel, deposit layer thickness, deposit layer permeability, wall thickness, and wall permeability.

3 Link the filtration model and the pressure drop model with the regeneration model to determine the time to carry out the regeneration of the DPF. It was found that the regeneration should be initiated when the cake layer is at a certain thickness, since a cake layer with either too big or too small an amount of particulates will need more thermal energy to reach a higher regeneration efficiency.

4 Formulate diesel particulate trap regeneration strategies for real world driving conditions to find out the best desirable conditions for DPF regeneration. It was found that the regeneration should be initiated when the vehicle’s speed is high and during which there should not be any stops from the vehicle. Moreover, the regeneration duration is about 120 seconds and the inlet temperature for the regeneration is 710K.