Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Document Type

Honors Research Project


Chemical Engineering

Research Sponsor

Dr. George Chase

First Reader

Dr. Zhengmeng Peng

Second Reader

Dr. Nic Leipzig


New regulations in creating cleaner diesel fuel (ultra-low sulfur or biodiesel) create problems with conventional filtration of water from the fuel due to increased levels of surfactants in the fuels. The objective of the research done is to analyze using electrowetting phenomena to coalesce water droplets in a diesel emulsion. This was done by observing and recording the behavior of water droplets in a diesel emulsion when a potential is applied between conductive surfaces. A high speed camera under a microscope was used. Recordings were analyzed and the size of coalescing drops were found at 100 and 200 volt DC potentials. The result shows coalescence of droplets in the range of 18-65 micrometers at 100 volts DC and a range of 20-100 micrometers at 200 volts DC. An overall increase in drop diameter of 40.8% (+/- 12.65%) was found. An added filtration medium of glass fibers increased droplet coalescence; more droplets coalesced against the medium. By increasing droplet size both with and without a filtration medium, this research has laid the groundwork for using this phenomena to increase ease and efficiency of the diesel filtration process.