Counter-intuitive temperature excursions during regeneration of a diesel particulate filter



A major technological challenge in the regeneration of diesel particulate filters (DPFs) is that sometimes local high temperature excursions melt the cordierite ceramic filter. The cause of this melting is still an open question as the highest temperature attained under stationary (constant feed) combustion of the accumulated particulate matter is too low to cause this melting (melting temperature ∼1250°C). We recently conjectured that the high temperature excursions are a counterintuitive response to a rapid deceleration, which decreases the exhaust gas temperature and flow rate and increases the oxygen concentration. Infrared measurements of the spatiotemporal temperature during soot combustion on a single-layer DPF showed that a simultaneous step change of the feed temperature, flow rate, and oxygen concentration can lead to a transient temperature that exceeds the highest attained for stationary operation under either the initial or the final operation conditions. The experiments revealed that the magnitude of the temperature rise depends in a complex way on several factors, such as the direction of movement of the propagating temperature front. The amplitude of the temperature rise is a monotonic decreasing function of the distance that the temperature front moved before the step change. The rapid response to the feed oxygen concentration increases initially the moving front temperature. The slow response of the ceramic DPF to a decrease in the feed temperature may eventually decrease the moving front temperature and even lead to premature extinction and partial regeneration. © 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2011