Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Mechanical Engineering


Norman D. Love


Potassium carbonate (K2CO3) is an effective seeding material to introduce potassium vapor in oxy-fuel combustion to create a conductive plasma. Injecting potassium carbonate before combustion promotes particle volatilization and improves the generation of potassium vapor. This can be achieved by emulsifying a potassium carbonate solution with kerosene. Several studies have investigated creating stable emulsions with kerosene with water by using differing surfactants. However, the effects of using varying concentrations of K2CO3 dissolved in deionized water have not been fully explored. Based on methods of creating successful emulsions, the development of a successful mixture comprised of kerosene and K2CO3 solution is achieved. The ionization of K2CO3 dissolved in water will vary the hydrophilic-lipophilic balance (HLB) in the overall mixture. The HLB is an indicator of the surfactant being attracted to water or oil in the mixture. HLB scales range from 0 to 20. Because the effect of K2CO3 in an emulsion is not readily known, the main focus of this study is developing a blend that remains coalesced for at least three hours under normal conditions with the maximum possible concentration of K2CO3. The emulsion will be used as a fuel source in the oxy-fuel combustor in a magnetohydrodynamic power generator. Higher conductivity levels are realized by the addition of seed through the fuel source as an emulsion. Having K2CO3 dissolved in the water is desired as it is not soluble in kerosene and has low solubility in methane in comparison to water.

Physical fluid properties with varying concentrations of K2CO3, such as density, viscosity, and surface tension are experimentally measured and input into a computational model. The computational model predicts the droplet sizes of the emulsion in a coaxial flow. Sauter Mean Diameter (SMD) is used to quantify droplet characteristics between varying fuels. Comparisons are made between the new mixtures and standard kerosene. It is desired to maintain droplet sizes as close to kerosene as possible while maintaining a high concentration of K2CO3. This study is a collaboration between the Magnetohydrodynamics Lab at the National Energy Technology Laboratory, Albany, OR, and UTEP.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

81 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Alejandra Castellano