• ELECTRORHEOLOGY FOR ENERGY PRODUCTION AND CONSERVATION

      Tao, R. (Rongjia); Burkhardt, T. W. (Theodore W.), 1940-; Hasan, Zameer U.; Kong, Seong Gong (Temple University. Libraries, 2010)
      Recently, based on the physics of viscosity, we developed a new technology, which utilizes electric or magnetic fields to change the rheology of complex fluids to reduce the viscosity, while keeping the temperature unchanged. The method is universal and applicable to all complex fluids with suspended particles of nano-meter, sub-micrometer, or micrometer size. Completely different from the traditional viscosity reduction method, raising the temperature, this technology is energy-efficient, as it only requires small amount of energy to aggregate the suspended particles. In this thesis, we will first discuss this new technology in detail, both in theory and practice. Then, we will report applications of our technology to energy science research. Presently, 80% of all energy sources are liquid fuels. The viscosity of liquid fuels plays an important role in energy production and energy conservation. With an electric field, we can reduce the viscosity of asphalt-based crude oil. This is important and useful for heavy crude oil and off-shore crude oil production and transportation. Especially, since there is no practical way to raise the temperature of crude oil inside the deepwater pipelines, our technology may play a key role in future off-shore crude oil production. Electrorehology can also be used to reduce the viscosity of refinery fuels, such as diesel fuel and gasoline. When we apply this technology to fuel injection, the fuel droplets in the fuel atomization become smaller, leading to faster combustion in the engine chambers. As the fuel efficiency of internal combustion engines depends on the combustion speed and timing, the fast combustion produces much higher fuel efficiency. Therefore, adding our technology on existing engines improves the engine efficiency significantly. A theoretical model for the engine combustion, which explains how fast combustion improves the engine efficiency, is also presented in the thesis.