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Journal of Mechanical Science and Technology 30 (3) (2016) 1399~1404

www.springerlink.com/content/1738-494x(Print)/1976-3824(Online)

DOI 10.1007/s12206-016-0247-x

Taguchi-Grey relational-based multi-response optimization of the water-in-diesel


emulsification process
Suresh Vellaiyan1,* and K. S. Amirthagadeswaran2
1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Sri Ramakrishna Institute of Technology, Coimbatore 641 010, India
2
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Government College of Technology, Coimbatore 641 013, India
(Manuscript Received June 1, 2015; Revised September 30, 2015; Accepted October 30, 2015)

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Abstract
The use of water-in-diesel emulsion fuel positively influences the performance and emission characteristics of diesel engines. The
problem associated with the introduction of such fuel into existing diesel engines is the lack of favorable emulsion qualities, such as a
high stability period, nominal heating value, medium density and low kinematic viscosity. The traditional Taguchi method has been applied to determine the optimal condition for single responses only; to overcome this limitation, the Taguchi-Grey relational-based multiresponse optimization method is adopted in the present study to obtain such beneficial emulsion fuel qualities. Experiments are conducted based on the L9 orthogonal array suggested in Taguchis quality concept, and the output responses are recorded. The emulsification process control parameters viz., surfactant concentration, stirrer speed and water concentration are identified as input parameters.
Results show that all the process parameters significantly influence emulsion quality. An optimal parametric setting is determined according to S/N ratio and verified through confirmation experiments. This setting effectively improves emulsion quality. Furthermore, the
properties of the W/D emulsion fuel prepared at the optimal parametric setting meet the diesel fuel requirements prescribed by the European standard of automotive fuel requirements (EN 590:2009).
Keywords: Emulsion fuel properties; Emulsion stability; Grey relational analysis; Optimal emulsion parameters; Water-in-diesel emulsion
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1. Introduction
The air pollution caused by diesel engines has attracted
much interest in the domain of eco-friendly fuels because
concerns regarding the environment and human health are
increasing. To improve the performance and emission characteristics of existing diesel engines, considerable efforts have
been exerted for the research and development of Water-indiesel (W/D) emulsion fuels [1-5]. In W/D emulsion fuel,
water droplets are dispersed over diesel, and these two liquids
are immiscible [6]. The main challenges of the emulsification
process are the formation of kinetically long, stable W/D
emulsion fuel and the generation of favorable emulsion fuel
properties; these difficulties can be overcome through the
addition of surface active agents (surfactants), the selection of
a suitable emulsion preparation method, and the control of
water concentration in emulsion fuel.
Surfactants are used to lower the surface tension between
diesel and water as well as to prevent droplet flocculation
through absorption on the droplet surfaces. Among cationic,
*

Corresponding author. Tel.: +91 9842 261765, Fax.: +91 422 2605454
E-mail address: suresh.vellaiyan@gmail.com

Recommended by Associate Editor Jeong Park


KSME & Springer 2016

anionic, ampholeric, and nonionic surfactants, nonionic surfactants possess the desired fuel characteristics of sting with
no soot and a lack of sulfur and nitrogen [7]. An appropriate
HLB value and the molecular structure of nonionic surfactants
are the key factors in the formation of stable emulsion. In the
first phase of the present study, Sorbitan monolaurate (HLB:
8.6) provides better emulsion stability with the minor occurrence of creaming and the formation of a coalescence zone
than Sorbitan monooleate (HLB: 4.3) and PEG 20 Sorbitan
monooleate (HLB: 15.0) do.
W/D emulsions can be stabilized with the use of a highshear stirring method, a high-pressure homogenizer method,
and ultrasound generators [10]. The high-shear stirring
method that involves mechanically homogenizing emulsification positively affects smoke and NOX emissions [11]. In the
first phase of the current study, an increase in water concentration reduced the stability period. In addition, the viscosity and
density values exceeded the limit of standard diesel fuel requirements.
The use of W/D emulsion fuel in existing diesel engines has
been an active field of inquiry in the past decade. Most reports
are based on the measurement of metal wear, performance,
and emission characteristics. However, little effort has been
exerted to examine the influence of emulsification process

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S. Vellaiyan and K. S. Amirthagadeswaran / Journal of Mechanical Science and Technology 30 (3) (2016) 1399~1404

Table 1. Emulsification process parameters and their levels.


Levels

Process parameters
1

Surfactant concentration (%)

0.5

1.0

1.5

Stirrer speed (rpm)

5000

10000

15000

Water concentration (%)

10

15

Fig. 1. Experimental setup of the emulsion preparation process.

parameters on emulsion fuel quality and its optimal conditions.


The present study is conducted (i) to analyze the influence of
emulsification process parameters on W/D emulsion stability
and emulsion fuel properties; (ii) to determine the optimal
combination of input parameters and improve response; (iii) to
predict the enhancement of emulsion quality to optimize process parameter settings with validation through confirmation
experiments; and (iv) to analyze the emulsion fuel properties
in the optimal condition.

Fig. 2. Image of the setup for emulsion stability measurement.

In this work, high-speed diesel (Bharath Petroleum Corporation Limited, India) was used as the continuous phase of the
emulsion. Sorbitan monolaurate (HLB: 8.6) was utilized as the
surfactant (Estelle Chemicals (P) Ltd., India). Double distilled
filtered water was employed as the dispersed phase of the
emulsion.

the stability measurement setup is depicted in Fig. 2. The


properties of BD and of the prepared W/D emulsion fuels
were measured and compared with the European Standard
automotive fuel requirements. Density (kg/m3) was measured
with a hydrometer (Avi. Chem. Industries, India) at a
reference temperature of 15C (EN ISO 12185:2009)
Kinematic viscosity (mm2/sec) was measured with a red wood
viscometer (M/S Mechtrix Engineers, India) at a reference
temperature of 40C (EN ISO 3104:2009). The heating values
of diesel and of the prepared emulsion fuels were determined
with a bomb calorimeter (M/S Mechtrix Engineers, India).

2.2 Emulsion preparation

2.4 Taguchi-Grey analysis

The experimental setup of the variable high-speed stirrer (015000 rpm) used for emulsion preparation is shown in Fig. 1.
The desired quantities of water and surfactants were added
dropwise to the fuel mixing chamber at high agitation speed
and stirred constantly for approximately 30 min.

The Taguchi method employs an orthogonal array to read


the essence of entire input parameters with a minimal number
of experiments [12]. In the traditional Taguchi method, individual response alone is optimized within the experimental
domain [13-15]. To solve multi-objective optimization problems, the Taguchi method is coupled with grey relational
analysis [16-18].
The present study employs a Taguchi L9 orthogonal array in
the experiments on the emulsification process. Three control
factors were identified as input parameters: (i) surfactant concentration, (ii) stirrer speed, and (iii) water concentration. Table 1 shows the emulsification process parameters and their
levels.
Surfactant concentration is an important parameter that can
directly influence stability and emulsion fuel properties. At

2. Materials and methods


2.1 Materials

2.3 Measurement of emulsion stability and fuel properties


Emulsion stability was analyzed according to variations in
emulsion density with respect to time through a photonic circuit. A laser beam was allowed to travel from the top surface
of the emulsion to the bottom without hindrance. The transfused laser beam was detected with a photo resister, and the
signal was sent to a multimeter. The entire experiment was
conducted in a dark room to maintain accuracy. An image of

S. Vellaiyan and K. S. Amirthagadeswaran / Journal of Mechanical Science and Technology 30 (3) (2016) 1399~1404

low surfactant concentration, the emulsion is unstable as a


result of agglomeration; at high concentration, destabilization
occurs as a consequence of rapid coalescence [19]. Hence, the
chosen parameter levels for surfactant concentration were
0.5%, 1.0% and 1.5%. The stirrer speed levels were also fixed
at 5000, 10000 and 15000 rpm. When the emulsification process is slow, water droplets fail to split into smaller droplets for
stable emulsion. At high agitation speed, fine droplets with
large interfacial areas are formed, thus enhancing stability.
Such droplets also improve fuel velocity [20], which in turn
affects the fuel injection system in diesel engines. Water concentration levels were set to 5%, 10% and 15% of total fuel
volume as another important parameter. The addition of water
to diesel generates low level emissions. Furthermore, an emulsion fuel phase value (f) of above 0.74 results in the splitting
of the emulsion and in the progressive augmentation of density and viscosity [20].
The shelf life of the W/D emulsion fuel is an important factor. Hence, the stability period has been characterized as the
larger-the-better, and the characteristic is computed as follows:
x( i ) k =

y i ( k ) - min y i ( k )
max y i ( k ) - min y i ( k )

(1)

The addition of water to diesel increases the density and reduces the heating value of emulsion fuel due to the increased
density of water over diesel and to the heat absorption of water particles during combustion, respectively. The total heat
content of the W/D emulsion fuel increases with density. Furthermore, the micro explosion of the water particles in the
combustion chamber enhances the efficiency of the diesel
engines [5]. The density and heating values are characterized
as the nominal-the-best and are computed as follows:
x (i ) k =

yi ( k ) - y0
max y i ( k ) - y 0

(2)

Increases in water concentration and stirrer speed improve


the droplet-droplet interaction in emulsion fuel, which in turn
enhances viscosity. A high viscosity leads to poor atomization
in the combustion chamber of the diesel engine and necessitates preheating. From this perspective, the viscosity value is
characterized as the smaller-the-better and is computed as
follows:
x( i ) k =

max y i ( k ) - y i ( k )
max y i ( k ) - min y i ( k )

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responding response.
The grey relational coefficient xi(k) can be calculated as follows:
+ y D max
xi ( k ) = D min
,

(4)

D 0i ( k ) = x0 ( k ) - xi (k ) ,

(5)

D 0i ( k ) + Y D max

where D0i is the absolute difference value. Dmin and Dmax are the
minimum and maximum values of the absolute differences of
all compared sequences. The purpose of distinguishing coefficient y (0 y 1) is to weaken the effect of Dmax when it is
excessive. In the present study, the value of y is set to 0.5. The
grey relational grade y0 can be computed as follows:
n

y0 = x i ( k ) b y i ...... b = 1 ,

(6)

k =1

where b is the weighting factor.


While converting the multiple grey relation grades, a high
weightage was assigned for emulsion stability and viscosity
rather than for density and calorific value because stability
period and viscosity directly influence the fuel injection system of diesel engines. The following weightage values were
set for different responses: emulsion stability = 0.4, heating
value = 0.1, density = 0.1, and viscosity = 0.4.

3. Results and discussion


Table 2 shows the process parameter combinations and experimental results. An increase in the mixing speed of the
stirrer shrinks the water droplets in the emulsion phase, consequently improving emulsion stability. The heating value of
emulsion fuels drops with an increase in water content due to
the heat absorption of water droplets during combustion. The
density and viscosity of emulsion fuel increase with water
concentration; the increase in viscosity can be attributed to the
improved interaction of water droplets.
To optimize the process parameters, the experimental data
are normalized to obtain the grey relational grade. The S/N
ratio for the overall grey relational grade is calculated with the
following equation:
S N = -10log

1
N

Ni

y
u =1

2
u

(7)

(3)

where yi (k) is the original reference sequence, xi (k) is the


sequence for comparison, i = 1, 2,, m, and k = 1, 2,., n.
n is the total number of experiments and responses along with
m. min yi(k) and max yi(k) are the minimum and maximum
values of yi(k), respectively. y0 is the nominal value of the cor-

where i denotes the number of measurements, u indicates the


trial number, and Ni reflects the number of trials for the experiment.
Table 3 shows the grey relational coefficients, grey relational grades, and S/N ratios of each run and ranks the runs
based on grey relational grade. R.No.6, that is, A2B3C1 (1%
surfactant concentration at a stirrer speed of 15000 rpm with

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S. Vellaiyan and K. S. Amirthagadeswaran / Journal of Mechanical Science and Technology 30 (3) (2016) 1399~1404

Table 2. Orthogonal array (L9) of the experimental runs and results.


Input process parameters
Run No

Surfactant
concentration (%)

Stirrer speed
(rpm)

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

0.5
0.5
0.5
1.0
1.0
1.0
1.5
1.5
1.5

5000
10000
15000
5000
10000
15000
5000
10000
15000

Output responses

Water
Stability period (hrs)
concentration (%)
5
10
15
10
15
5
15
5
10

184
202
265
170
230
320
160
247
282

Heating value
(MJ/kg)

Density (kg/m3)

Kinematic viscosity
(mm2/sec)

42.30
41.00
41.00
41.85
40.95
42.90
40.80
42.80
42.20

838.9
843.2
852.6
845.1
853.4
839.8
867.9
847.6
852.5

2.1
3.1
4.6
2.3
3.3
4.2
2.4
3.0
4.3

Table 3. Calculated grey relational coefficients of all responses and the grey relational grades with weightage values and S/N ratios.
Weighting
factor

0.4

0.4

0.1

Grey relational coefficient

Run No

Stability period Kinematic viscosity


1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

0.1

0.3704
0.4040
0.5926
0.3478
0.4706
1.0000
0.3333
0.5229
0.6779

1.0000
0.5555
0.3333
0.8621
0.5102
0.3731
0.8065
0.5814
0.3623

Density

Heating value

0.3549
0.3396
0.4149
0.3225
0.4280
0.3800
1.0000
0.3483
0.4133

0.6129
0.4419
0.3333
0.4750
0.3393
1.0000
0.3585
0.9048
0.5758

Table 4. Responses for the S/N ratios and the significance of process
parameters.

Level

Surfactant
concentration
(A)

Stirrer speed
(B)

Water
concentration
(C)

5.849

4.449

3.999

4.937

6.071

5.817

5.083

5.350

6.054

Delta

0.912

1.622

2.055

Rank

Optimum level

A2

B1

C1

SS

0.00498

0.01480

0.03200

DOF

% of contribution

9.8

28.5

61.7

5% water concentration) generates a good output response


during the L9 orthogonal array experiments and is expected to
be close to the optimal value. R.No.6 also has the highest grey
relational coefficient among the other runs for the responses of
stability period and heating value. R.No.1, with 0.5% surfactant concentration, 5% water concentration, and a stirrer speed
of 5000 rpm, displays the best kinematic viscosity level.
R.No.7 exhibits the best density level in the experiments.
To predict the significance of process parameters, the total
variability of grey relational grades should be separated by

Grey relational grade

S/N ratio

Rank

0.64490
0.46195
0.44520
0.56371
0.46905
0.68724
0.59177
0.56703
0.51499

3.81015
6.70810
7.02890
4.97889
6.57562
3.25783
4.55694
4.92788
5.76402

2
8
9
5
7
1
3
4
6

measuring the mean sum of squares. SS is determined as follows:


p

SS = y i - y m
i =1

),

(8)

where yi is the mean response for the ith experiment and ym is


the grand mean of the response. The mean sum of squares is
determined based on SS and the DOF. Table 4 lists the S/N
ratio responses and the significance of the process parameters
on overall performance. All three factors (surfactant concentration: 9.8%, stirrer speed: 28.5%, and water concentration:
61.7%) significantly influence output response. Moreover, the
optimum process parametric setting is A2B1C1, that is, surfactant concentration = 1%, stirrer speed = 5000 rpm, and water
concentration = 5%.

4. Confirmation test
To predict the enhancement in emulsion quality for the optimum process parameter settings, the S/N ratio and the grey
relational grade are obtained with the following equation:
o

y = y m + i=1 y i - y m ) ,

(9)

where ym is the total mean of the S/N ratio or of the grey relational grade, y is the mean of the S/N ratio or of the grey

S. Vellaiyan and K. S. Amirthagadeswaran / Journal of Mechanical Science and Technology 30 (3) (2016) 1399~1404

Table 5. Results of the confirmation test.


Initial best
parameter
combination

Optimal parameter
combination
Prediction

Experimentation

Level

A2B3C1

A2B1C1

Grey relational
grade

0.6872

0.7075

0.7589

S/N ratio

3.2578

2.8053

2.3959

Table 6. Comparison of the properties of W/D emulsion fuels with the


standard diesel fuel requirements.
Output responses
Experimental run

Kinematic
Stability
Density at
viscosity at
period (hrs)
15C (kg/m3)
2
40C (mm /s)

Heating
value
(MJ/kg)

Initial parametric
setting -A2B3C1

320.0

4.2

839.8

42.9

Optimal parametric setting-A2B1C1

284.0

2.6

839.6

42.6

EN 590:2009
standard

NA

2.0-4.5

820.0-845.0

NA

relational grade at the optimum level, and o is the number of


design factors.
To verify the predicted value, an experiment is conducted to
determine the optimum parametric setting; furthermore, the
grey relational grade and the S/N ratio are calculated. Table 5
presents the results of the latter two variables under the optimum parametric and initial settings (Rank 1: A2B3C1). The
predicted and experimental results agree with the improved
grey relational grade (10.4% increase) and S/N ratio in the
optimal case over those in initial best parametric setting.
The fuel properties measured at the optimal parametric setting are compared with those in the initial best parametric
setting and with the European Standard specification for automotive diesel fuel requirements, as listed in Table 6. The
results show an improvement in kinematic viscosity at the
optimal condition over that in the initial best setting, which is
critical to the W/D emulsion fuel. The other parameters drop
minimally. Finally, the fuel properties at the optimal parametric setting meet the European standard specifications.

5. Conclusion
To optimize the emulsion process parameters in the emulsification process, the Taguchi-Grey relational analysis is conducted and the results presented. The study conclusions are as
follows:
Surfactant concentration, stirrer speed, and water concentration significantly influence emulsion quality,
the optimal parameter setting is as follows: 1% surfactant
concentration at 5000 rpm stirrer speed with 5% water

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concentration (verified through confirmation experiments),


emulsion quality improves considerably with the optimal
parametric setting, and
the measured properties of the fuel prepared under the
optimal parametric setting meet the European Standard
of automotive fuel requirements.

Acknowledgment
The authors wish to thank the management and Principal Dr.
R. Joseph Xavier of the Sri Ramakrishna Institute of Technology, Coimbatore, India for providing the facilities and support
for the execution of this research.

Nomenclature-----------------------------------------------------------------------W/D
HLB
NOx
BD
rpm
S/N ratio
R.No
SS
DOF

: Water-in-diesel
: Hydrophilic-lipophilic balance
: Nitrogen oxides
: Base diesel
: Revolution per minute
: Signal-to-noise ratio
: Run number
: Sum of squares
: Degree of freedom

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Suresh Vellaiyan received his B.E.


degree in Mechanical Engineering from
Periyar University, India in 2003 and his
M.E. degree in Thermal Engineering
from Anna University, India in 2007. He
is currently working as an Assistant
Professor (Sr.Gr) at the department of
Mechanical Engineering at the Sri
Ramakrishna Institute of Technology, Coimbatore, India. His
research interests include IC engines, alternative fuels, emission control techniques, nano-fuels and optimization.
K. S. Amirthagadeswaran received his
B.E. degree in Mechanical Engineering
from Madras University, India in 1980
and his M.E. degree in Production Engineering from Bharathiar University,
India in 1988. He then obtained his Ph.D.
from Bharathiyar University, India in
2007. He is currently working as a Professor at the department of Mechanical Engineering at the
Government College of Technology, Coimbatore, India. He
has authored over 30 publications in different peer reviewed
journals and conferences. His current research interests include scheduling, cellular manufacturing systems, nontraditional optimization algorithms, squeeze casting, electro
discharge machining and composites.