Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

David P. Schmidt

Second Advisor

Stephen de Bruyn Kops

Third Advisor

Michael Henson

Subject Categories

Mechanical Engineering


Flash boiling may be defined as the finite-rate mechanism that governs phase change in a high temperature liquid that is depressurized below its vapor pressure. This is a transient and complicated phenomenon which has applications in many industries. The main focus of the current work is on modeling flash boiling in injectors used in engines operating on the principle of gasoline direct injection (GDI). These engines are prone to flash boiling due to the transfer of thermal energy to the fuel, combined with the sub-atmospheric pressures present in the cylinder during injection. Unlike cavitation, there is little tendency for the fuel vapor to condense as it moves downstream because the fuel vapor pressure exceeds the downstream cylinder pressure, especially in the homogeneous charge mode. In the current work, a pseudo-fluid approach is employed to model the flow, and the non-equilibrium nature of flash boiling is captured through the use of an empirical time scale. This time scale represents the deviation from thermal equilibrium conditions. The fuel composition plays an important role in flash boiling and hence, any modeling of this phenomenon must account for the type of fuel being used. In the current work, standard, NIST codes are used to model single component fluids like n-octane, n-hexane, and water, and a multi-component surrogate for JP8. Additionally, gasoline-ethanol blends are also considered. These mixtures are azeotropic in nature, generating vapor pressures that are higher than those of either pure component. To obtain the properties of these fuels, two mixing models are proposed that capture this non-ideal behavior. Flash boiling simulations in a number of two and three dimensional nozzles are presented, and the flow behavior and phase change inside the nozzles is analyzed in detail. Comparison with experimental data is performed in cases where data are available. The results of these studies indicate that flash boiling significantly affects the characteristics of the nozzle spray, like the spray cone angle and liquid penetration into the cylinder. A parametric study is also presented that can help understand how the two different time scales, namely the residence time in the nozzle and the vaporization time scale, interact and affect the phenomenon of flash boiling.