Soot and ash deposition characteristics at the catalyst-substrate interface and intra-layer interactions in aged diesel particulate filters illustrated using focused ion beam (FIB) milling
Paper in proceedings, 2012
The accumulation of soot and lubrication-derived ash particles in a diesel particulate filter (DPF) increases exhaust flow restriction and negatively impacts engine efficiency. Previous studies have described the macroscopic phenomenon and general effects of soot and ash accumulation on filter pressure drop. In order to enhance the fundamental understanding, this study utilized a novel apparatus, that of a dual beam scanning electron microscope (SEM) and focused ion beam (FIB), to investigate microscopic details of soot and ash accumulation in the DPF. Specifically, FIB provides a minimally invasive technique to analyze the interactions between the soot, ash, catalyst/washcoat, and DPF substrate with a high degree of measurement resolution. The FIB utilizes a gallium liquid metal ion source which produces Ga+ ions of sufficient momentum to directionally mill away material from the soot, ash, and substrate layers on a nm-μm scale. As the FIB cuts into the sample, uncovering intra-layer details, the coupled high resolution SEM imaging and energy dispersive x-ray (EDX) analysis provide both morphological and chemical data. This tool was applied to investigate soot and ash accumulation in the DPF, with a specific focus on characterizing interactions between the soot/ash/DPF interfaces, such as soot penetration into the ash layer, as well as soot and ash accumulation in the DPF surface pores. In particular, ash and soot particle size, layer pore structure, and the extent of penetration or intra-layer mixing, are all parameters directly impacting DPF pressure drop, which may be quantified using this technique. The work in this study leveraged existing databases of aged DPFs containing various levels of soot and ash, originating from field trials and controlled laboratory testing. Results obtained with this technique provide a fresh and complementary perspective, as well as additional details useful to understand the macroscopic observations of the combined ash and soot effects on diesel particulate filter pressure drop.