Browse Publications Technical Papers 2020-01-0620
2020-04-14

Compatibility of Elastomers with Polyoxymethylene Dimethyl Ethers and Blends with Diesel 2020-01-0620

Polyoxymethylene dimethyl ethers (PODEs) have shown promise as candidates for diesel fuel blendstocks due to their low sooting tendency, high cetane number, and diesel-comparable boiling point range. However, there is a lack of literature regarding compatibility of PODEs with common automotive elastomers, which would be a prerequisite to their adoption into the marketplace. To address this need, an exposure study and complementary solubility analysis were undertaken. A commercially available blend of PODEs with polymerization degree ranging from 3 to 6 was blended with diesel certification fuel at 0, 33, 50, 67, at 100% by mass. Elastomer coupons were exposed to the various blends for a period of 4 weeks and evaluated for volume swell. The elastomer materials included multiple fluoroelastomers (Viton and fluorosilicone) and acrylonitrile butadiene rubbers (NBR), as well as neoprene, polyurethane, epichlorohydrin (ECO), PVC-nitrile blend (OZO), ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM), styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR), and silicone. The exposure results indicated overall poor compatibility for PODE, with every elastomer except for fluorosilicone exhibiting greater than 30% volume swell at the 33% blend level. The general trend across the elastomers was either a consistent increase in volume swell with PODE concentration, or maximum in volume swell at an intermediate blend fraction. One notable exception is EPDM, which is not generally compatible with diesel fuel and which exhibited a reduction in volume swell with increasing PODE concentration. The same elastomers and PODE/diesel blends were evaluated using Hansen solubility parameter analysis, which predicted similar trends to the exposure study with the exception of ECO. From these results, we conclude that adoption of PODEs as a diesel fuel blendstock will require either the development of specialized elastomers, or that the blend fraction be kept to a low level to maintain compatibility with existing elastomers.
Notice: This manuscript has been authored by UT-Battelle, LLC, under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725 with the US Department of Energy (DOE). The US government retains and the publisher, by accepting the article for publication, acknowledges that the US government retains a nonexclusive, paid-up, irrevocable, worldwide license to publish or reproduce the published form of this manuscript, or allow others to do so, for US government purposes. DOE will provide public access to these results of federally sponsored research in accordance with the DOE Public Access Plan (http://energy.gov/downloads/doe-public-access-plan).

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