Hot zones formation during regeneration of diesel particulate filters



A diesel particulate filter (DPF) is used to remove particulate matter (PM) from the diesel engine exhaust. The accumulated PM is periodically removed by combustion, which sometimes leads to excessive temperature excursions that melt the ceramic filter. This behavior cannot be explained by operation under stationary feed conditions. We propose that these temperature excursions are a dynamic effect following a rapid change in the driving mode while the DPF is being regenerated. Specifically, a rapid decrease in the exhaust temperature can lead to a counterintuitive large transient temperature rise above that which would exist under a higher stationary feed temperature. This unexpected behavior is similar to the well-known wrong-way behavior in packed-bed reactors, even though the axial-dependent flow through the filter in a DPF is rather different from the constant axial flow through a packed bed. We present simulations that provide insight about the dependence of the amplitude of this wrong-way temperature rise on the filtration velocity, the PM loading, dimensions of the DPF, and the amplitude of the rapid temperature decrease and when it occurs after the start of the regeneration. The insight provided by these simulations will help develop operation and control protocols that circumvent or at least decrease the probability of the occurrence of the destructive melting of the DPF. © 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2011