with which a liquid changes to a vapor is known as the volatility of the liquid The 90 percent distillation temperature measures volatility of diesel fuel. This is the temperature at which 90 percent of a sample of the fuel has been distilled off. The lower the distillation temperature, the higher the volatility of the fuel. In small diesel engines higher fuel volatility is needed than in larger engines in order to obtain low fuel consumption, low exhaust temperature, and minimum exhaust smoke.
The viscosity is a measure of the resistance to flow of the fuel, and it will decrease as the fuel oil temperature increases. What this means is that a fluid with a high viscosity is heavier than a fluid with low viscosity. A high viscosity fuel may cause extreme pressures in the injection systems and will cause reduced atomization and vaporization of the fuel spray.
The viscosity of diesel fuel must be low enough to flow freely at its lowest operational temperature, yet high enough to provide lubrication to the moving parts of the finely machined injectors. The fuel must also be sufficiently viscous so that leakage at the pump plungers and dribbling at the injectors will not occur. Viscosity also will determine the size of the fuel droplets, which, in turn, govern the atomization and penetration qualities of the fuel injector spray.
Recommended fuel oil viscosity for high-speed diesel engines is generally in the region of 39 SSU (Seconds Saybolt Universal) which is derived from using a Saybolt Viscosimeter to measure the time it takes for a quantity of fuel to flow through a restricted hole in a tube. A viscosity rating of 39 SSU provides good penetration into the combustion chamber, atomization of fuel, and suitable lubrication.
Sulfur has a definite effect on the wear of the internal components of the engine, such as piston ring, pistons, valves, and cylinder liners. In addition a high sulfur content fuel requires that the engine oil and filter be changed more often. This is because the corrosive effects of hydrogen sulfide in the fuel and the sulfur dioxide or sulfur triioxide that is formed during the combustion process combines with water vapor to form acids. High additive lubricating oils are desired when high sulfur fuels are used. Refer to the engine manufacturer's specifications for the correct lube oil when using high sulfur fuel.
Sulfur content can only be established by chemical analysis of the fuel. Fuel sulfur content above 0.4% is considered as medium or high and anything below 0.4% is low. No. 2D contains between 0.2 and 0.5% sulfur, whereas No. 1D contains less than 0.1%.
Sulfur content has a direct bearing on the life expectancy of the engine and its components. Active sulfur in diesel fuel will attack and corrode injection system components in addition to contributing to combustion chamber and injection system deposits.
Cloud point is the temperature at which wax crystals in the fuel (paraffin base) begin to settle out with the result that the fuel filter becomes clogged. This condition exists when cold temperatures are encountered and is the reason that a thermostatically controlled fuel heater is required on vehicles operating in cold weather environments. Failure to use a fuel heater will prevent fuel from flowing through the filter and the engine will not run. Cloud point generally occurs 9-14F above the pour point.
Pour point of a fuel determines the lowest temperature at which the fuel can be pumped through the fuel system. The pour point is 5F above the level at which oil becomes a solid or refuses to flow.
Cleanliness is an important characteristic of diesel fuel. Fuel should not contain more than a trace of foreign substances; otherwise, fuel pump and injectors difficulties will develop leading to poor performance or seizure. Because it is heavier and more viscous, diesel fuel will hold dirt particles in suspension for a longer period than gasoline. Moisture in the fuel can also damage or cause seizure of injector parts when corrosion occurs.
Fuel stability is its capacity to resist chemical change caused by oxidation and heat. Good oxidation stability means that the fuel can be stored for extended periods of time without the formation of gum or sludge. Good thermal stability prevents the formation or carbon in hot parts, such as fuel injectors or turbine nozzles. Carbon deposits disrupt the spray patterns and cause inefficient combustion.