µMist® Platform Technology
Inspired by the Bombardier Beetle
The μMist® spray Platform technology which is inspired by the bombardier beetle has multiple potential applications, within the automotive, aviation, space craft, medical, fire control and consumer industries – all these industries have a demonstrable need for technically advanced, low carbon impact and more environmentally friendly spray systems. Inspired by the beetle’s controlled valve system, the µMist® innovation uses the same principles. Research teams at Cornell University and Leeds University believed the beetle’s mechanism to be essential to the firing of the vapour and liquid droplets. This led to the building of an experimental rig which builds upon the physics of the beetle system for generating high performance vapour explosions.
The University of Leeds research group investigated the physics of the bombardier beetle’s internal chamber and spray mechanism. The beetle has the ability to generate a high frequency pulsed spray at very low injection pressures. Using computer CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) models and subsequent rig construction inspired by some of the beetle’s spray generating capabilities, in particular the valve system of the beetle, the team were inspired to develop the conceptual ideas for the design of the technically advanced, innovative and environmentally friendly µMist® spray system. This system can be used for fuel injection within the automotive, aviation, space-craft industries as well as having the potential for many other spray applications such as drug delivery, household, products, fire control, etc.
A major outcome of this Carbon Connection² supported program is the demonstration of the validity of the proposed µMist® technology as the next generation fuel injector system with the environmental benefit of a significant reduction in carbon emissions and other harmful engine emissions (eg. UBHC, particulates). By using the µMist® spray technology for fuel injection in automotive engines, improved fuel burning is achieved through the generation of smaller fuel droplets and the injector operating at lower pressures. This low pressure option reduces the manufacturing and implementation cost of the new injectors and hence ensures the rapid adoption of this new technology. A retrofit approach is then possible for existing high pressure rail systems to achieve rapid market uptake.
The µMist® technology is gaining maximum scientific, commercial and public interest and is stimulating additional development programs of the µMist® platform technology into further novel industrial applications within aviation, space craft, medical, fire control and consumer industries. All these industries have a demonstrable need for technically advanced, low carbon impact and more environmentally friendly spray systems.
This Carbon Connection² supported development program has progressed rapidly through the engagement of an innovation accelerating philosophy, where state-of-the-art cutting edge partners are engaged within a consortium development team to drive forward the relevant technologies, in combination with managed, parallel, synergistic yet distinct research and development programs.
¹ Patents Pending. Covered by U.S. Patent Publication Numbers; 2010 (0032176), 2010 (0031957) and 2009 (0212125)
² European Patent No 1937333.
³ Carbon Connections is HEIF-funded investment project utilising £3 million for carbon reduction activities. Based at the University of East Anglia, Carbon Connections supports innovative projects in carbon reduction using a partnership model. The aim is to facilitate knowledge transfer between universities and research laboratories and the business community to speed commercial development of carbon-saving projects, whether technological or behavioural in focus. (www.carbon-connections.org.uk)
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