Warming automotive catalysts with pulsating flows

Stephen F. Benjamin, Carol A. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Temperatures of an automotive catalyst substrate warmed by convection pre-light-off have been measured. Direct comparison has been made of warm-up by steady and pulsating flow for a one-dimensional flow case. The 32 Hz pulsating mass flow did not feature flow reversal. Pulsations were achieved by interruption of the airflow by a rotating disc. Very small differences between steady and pulsating cases were observed because the effect of mass flow pulsations on heat transfer is minimal. Two different computational fluid dynamics methods were used to predict temperature. A one-dimensional porous medium model, which required input of an assumed heat transfer coefficient, was compared with a single-channel model. Predictions agreed closely and there was also qualitative agreement with measurements. Similar mass flow pulsations in the range 32-100 Hz have been studied for a case with a larger diameter automotive catalyst supplied via a conical diffuser. The radial flow distribution is controlled by pulsation frequency and the effect of frequency on temperature at different depths in the substrate was observed experimentally. Pulsations will affect catalyst warm-up in practical systems because of their effect on flow distribution, rather than on heat transfer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)891-910
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part D: Journal of Automobile Engineering
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • automotive catalyst
  • pulsating flow
  • heat transfer
  • conical diffuser
  • exhaust systems


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