Browse Publications Technical Papers 2001-01-2013
2001-05-07

Dimethyl Ether (DME) - Assessment of Viscosity Using the New Volatile Fuel Viscometer (VFVM) 2001-01-2013

This paper describes the development and test of a viscometer capable of handling dimethyl Ether (DME) and other volatile fuels.
DME has excellent combustion characteristics in diesel engines but the injection equipment can break down prematurely due to extensive wear when handling this fuel. It was established, in earlier work, that the wear in the pumps is substantial even if the lubricity of DME is raised to a believed acceptable level using anti-wear additives.
An influence of the viscosity on the wear in the pumps was suspected. The problem, up to now, was that the viscosity of DME has only been estimated or calculated but never actually measured.
In the present work a volatile fuel viscometer (VFVM) was developed. It is of the capillary type and it was designed to handle DME, neat or additised. The kinematic and dynamic viscosities of pure DME were measured at 0.185 cSt and 0.122 cP at 25 °C respectively.
The VFVM established that low concentrations of additives do not affect the viscosity of DME significantly. This is the case even when the additive has a high viscosity or is solid at ambient temperature. The viscosity of DME blends can reach that of diesel oil but only when the additive is present in very large proportions.
It is not believed that reasonably additised DME can reach the same viscosity and lubricity as diesel oil. The solution is rather to design the pumps so they can handle pure DME.

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