Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

Paul E. Sojka

Committee Member 1

Robert P. Lucht

Committee Member 2

Timothee L. Pourpoint


Feddema, Rick T. M.S.M.E., Purdue University, December 2013. Effect of Aviation Fuel Type and Fuel Injection Conditions on the Spray Characteristics of Pressure Swirl and Hybrid Air Blast Fuel Injectors. Major Professor: Dr. Paul E. Sojka, School of Mechanical Engineering

Spray performance of pressure swirl and hybrid air blast fuel injectors are central to combustion stability, combustor heat management, and pollutant formation in aviation gas turbine engines. Next generation aviation gas turbine engines will optimize spray atomization characteristics of the fuel injector in order to achieve engine efficiency and emissions requirements.

Fuel injector spray atomization performance is affected by the type of fuel injector, fuel liquid properties, fuel injection pressure, fuel injection temperature, and ambient pressure. Performance of pressure swirl atomizer and hybrid air blast nozzle type fuel injectors are compared in this study. Aviation jet fuels, JP-8, Jet A, JP-5, and JP-10 and their effect on fuel injector performance is investigated. Fuel injector set conditions involving fuel injector pressure, fuel temperature and ambient pressure are varied in order to compare each fuel type.

One objective of this thesis is to contribute spray patternation measurements to the body of existing drop size data in the literature. Fuel droplet size tends to increase with decreasing fuel injection pressure, decreasing fuel injection temperature and increasing ambient injection pressure. The differences between fuel types at particular set conditions occur due to differences in liquid properties between fuels. Liquid viscosity and surface tension are identified to be fuel-specific properties that affect the drop size of the fuel.

An open aspect of current research that this paper addresses is how much the type of aviation jet fuel affects spray atomization characteristics. Conventional aviation fuel specifications are becoming more important with new interest in alternative fuels. Optical patternation data and line of sight laser diffraction data show that there is significant difference between jet fuels. Particularly at low fuel injection pressures (0.345 MPa) and cold temperatures (-40 C), the patternation data shows that the total surface area in the spray at 38.1 mm from the pressure swirl injector for the JP-10 fuel type is one-sixth the amount of the JP-8.

Finally, this study compares the atomizer performance of a pressure swirl nozzle to a hybrid air blast nozzle. The total surface area for both the hybrid air blast nozzle and the pressure swirl nozzle show a similar decline in atomization performance at low fuel injection pressures and cold temperatures. However, the optical patternator radial profile data and the line of sight laser diffraction data show that the droplet size and spray distribution data are less affected by injection conditions and fuel type in the hybrid air blast nozzle, than they are in the pressure swirl nozzle. One explanation is that the aerodynamic forces associated with the swirler on the hybrid air blast nozzle control the distribution droplets in the spray. This is in contrast to the pressure swirl nozzle droplet distribution that is controlled by internal geometry and droplet ballistics.