Studying biofuel aerosol evaporation rates with single particle manipulation

Stella Corsetti, R. E. H. Miles, J. P. Reid, J. Kiefer, D. McGloin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)


The significant increase in the air pollution, and the impact on climate change due to the burning of fossil fuel has led to the research of alternative energies. Bio-ethanol obtained from a variety of feedstocks can provide a feasible solution. Mixing bio-ethanol with gasoline leads to a reduction in CO emission and in NOx emissions compared with the use of gasoline alone. However, adding ethanol leads to a change in the fuel evaporation. Here we present a preliminary investigation of evaporation times of single ethanol-gasoline droplets. In particular, we investigated the different evaporation rate of the droplets depending on the variation in the percentage of ethanol inside them. Two different techniques have been used to trap the droplets. One makes use of a 532nm optical tweezers set up, the other of an electrodynamics balance (EDB). The droplets decreasing size was measured using video analysis and elastic light scattering respectively. In the first case measurements were conducted at 293.15 K and ambient humidity. In the second case at 280.5 K and a controlled environment has been preserved by flowing nitrogen into the chamber. Binary phase droplets with a higher percentage of ethanol resulted in longer droplet lifetimes. Our work also highlights the advantages and disadvantages of each technique for such studies. In particular it is challenging to trap droplets with low ethanol content (such as pure gasoline) by the use of EDB. Conversely such droplets are trivial to trap using optical tweezers.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation XI
EditorsKishan Dholakia, Gabriel C. Spalding
Place of PublicationBellingham
PublisherSPIE-International Society for Optical Engineering
ISBN (Print)9781628411911
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventSPIE Optics + Photonics 2014: Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation XI - San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, United States
Duration: 17 Aug 201421 Aug 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE


ConferenceSPIE Optics + Photonics 2014: Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation XI
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego
Internet address


  • Bio-ethanol
  • Electrodynamics balance (EDB)
  • Evaporation
  • Fossil fuel
  • Optical tweezers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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