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Chemical Composition of Diesel/Biodiesel Particulate Exhaust by FTIR Spectroscopy and Mass Spectrometry: Impact of Fuel and Driving Cycle

Category: Aerosol and Atmospheric Chemistry

Volume: 17 | Issue: 7 | Pages: 1717-1734
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2017.04.0127
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Olga B. Popovicheva 1, Cornelia Irimiea2, Yvain Carpentier2, Ismael K. Ortega2,3, Elena D. Kireeva1, Natalia K. Shonija4, Jaroslav Schwarz5, Michal Vojtíšek-Lom6, Cristian Focsa2

  • 1 Skobeltsyn Institute of Nuclear Physics, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation
  • 2 Univ. Lille, CNRS, UMR 8523 – PhLAM – Physique des Lasers Atomes et Molécules, F-59000 Lille, France
  • 3 Onera – The French Aerospace Lab, F-91761 Palaiseau, France
  • 4 Chemical Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation
  • 5 Institute of Chemical Process Fundamentals CAS, Prague, CZ-16502, Czech Republic
  • 6 Center for Sustainable Mobility, Czech Technical University in Prague, CZ-16607, Czech Republic


FTIR and MS analyses of diesel/biodiesel soot in steady-state/transient conditions.
Correlation between chemical bonds and molecular fragments.
FTIR functional groups provide fuel and operating condition spectral signatures.
MS-based PCA classifies fuel/engine working regimes.


The growing concern about air quality and the impact exhaust particles can have on the environment has resulted in the increased use of alternative fuels. A sampling campaign from a conventional heavy diesel engine operated in typical transient cycle or steady-state condition, and running on diesel, 30% biodiesel in diesel, and 100% biodiesel was carried out. The particulate composition was characterized using Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, Two-step Laser Mass Spectrometry (L2MS), Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS), thermo-optical analysis, and capillary electrophoresis. Elemental carbon is demonstrated to decrease from diesel to 100% biodiesel, in agreement with the evolution of aromatic bands and the MS abundance of Cn fragments, while organic carbon exhibits a constant level irrespective of the working regime. Aliphatic, aromatic, carboxyl, carbonyl, hydroxyl functionalities, and nitro compounds are found to depend on the engine-working regime. Mass spectra are mainly characterized by alkyl fragments (CnH2n+1+), associated to normal and branched alkanes, PAHs and their alkylated derivatives. The addition of biodiesel to diesel changes the particulate composition towards more oxygenated constituents, such as carbonyl groups attributed to methyl ester CH3O+ fragments of unburned biodiesel. Fuel-specific fragments have been identified, such as C3H7O+ for diesel, and C2H3O2+ and CH3O for biodiesel. Nitrogenized compounds are revealed by -NO2 functionalities and N-containing fragments. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was successfully applied to discriminate the engine operating conditions, with a higher variance given by the fuel, thus allowing to better evaluate the environmental impacts of alternative energy source emissions.


Diesel engine Particulate emission FTIR Mass spectrometry Environmental pollution

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