Mapping the Operation of the Miniature Combustion Aerosol Standard (Mini-CAST) Soot Generator

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The Jing Ltd. miniature combustion aerosol standard (Mini-CAST) soot generator is a portable, commercially available burner that is widely used for laboratory measurements of soot processes. While many studies have used the Mini-CAST to generate soot with known size, concentration, and organic carbon fraction under a single or few conditions, there has been no systematic study of the burner operation over a wide range of operating conditions. Here, we present a comprehensive characterization of the microphysical, chemical, morphological, and hygroscopic properties of Mini-CAST soot over the full range of oxidation air and mixing N-2 flow rates. Very fuel-rich and fuel-lean flame conditions are found to produce organic-dominated soot with mode diameters of 10-60nm, and the highest particle number concentrations are produced under fuel-rich conditions. The lowest organic fraction and largest diameter soot (70-130nm) occur under slightly fuel-lean conditions. Moving from fuel-rich to fuel-lean conditions also increases the O:C ratio of the soot coatings from similar to 0.05 to similar to 0.25, which causes a small fraction of the particles to act as cloud condensation nuclei near the Kelvin limit (kappa similar to 0-10(-3)). Comparison of these property ranges to those reported in the literature for aircraft and diesel engine soots indicates that the Mini-CAST soot is similar to real-world primary soot particles, which lends itself to a variety of process-based soot studies. The trends in soot properties uncovered here will guide selection of burner operating conditions to achieve optimum soot properties that are most relevant to such studies.


Aerosol Science and Technology





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Second Department

Chemical Engineering

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