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Characterizing particulate matter from numerous combustion sources and developing diesel and gasoline particulate filters

In addition to gaseous emissions and water vapor, combustion engines also emit particles of soot and ash, known collectively as particulate matter or particulates. Due to concerns about the effects of particulate emissions on human health and the environment, regulations related to particulate emissions from internal combustion engines have become more stringent over the years. While advanced combustion concepts are one approach to reducing particulate emissions, particulate filters look like promising enabling technologies to remove them.

Since advanced filter systems require a fundamental understanding of filtration and regeneration processes as well as particulate properties, Argonne’s emissions control research focuses on characterizing particulate matter from numerous combustion sources and developing diesel and gasoline particulate filters. Detailed particulate characterization also assists researchers in better understanding soot formation and oxidation mechanisms in engine cylinders.

This work advances particulate filter systems based on fundamental understandings of filtration and regeneration processes from visualization, particulate morphology, and post-oxidation behavior. Ultimately, this work will help manufacturers develop emissions control systems for internal combustion engines that can achieve fuel savings while meeting gaseous and particulate matter emissions regulations.

Argonne offers an ideal environment for filter research, which requires profound understandings of particulate characteristics, catalysts, and filter geometry. Filter test facilities equipped with emissions measurement systems enable evaluation of coated catalysts that enhance filter performance. Argonne-based user facilities such as the Advanced Photon Source and Center for Nanoscale Materials offer in-depth characterization tools for catalyst deactivation mechanisms, filter microtomography, and particulate/elements analyses.