How The Differences in Ash and Soot Impact DPF Cleaning Strategies

How The Differences in Ash and Soot Impact DPF Cleaning Strategies
by Jim Sutherland from Enviromotive

We often engage in discussions about DPF cleaning strategies and why some techniques may work better than others. In our business of constructing DPF cleaning equipment it is imperative that we fully understand all the factors involved with effective filter cleaning. In this article, we want to share some information from CTS Corporation from an article titled “Understanding the Differences Between Ash and Soot” that described the fundamental differences between soot and ash particles in the DPF, key differences in particle size and composition, which play an important role the manner in which the particles are removed from the filter.

They spell out the problem bay stating, “Ash and soot are fundamentally different materials, but both accumulate in the DPF. Removing each of these materials from the DPF requires completely different processes. Soot is normally removed from the DPF through regeneration, which burns off the soot, leaving the ash behind. Ash, on the other hand, by definition is incombustible and must be removed from the DPF through some type of cleaning process.”

This gives the reason that regeneration on it’s own will not ever completely get your DPF clean. Because the nature of soot particles, regeneration can help eliminate them. Ash, on the other hand, cannot be removed with regeneration. According to the article, “Although the ash only makes up a very small fraction of the incoming soot, it remains in the DPF indefinitely and builds up to high levels. In fact, after only 33,000 miles, the amount of ash in the DPF may equal the amount of soot (prior to regeneration), and after 150,000 miles, nearly 80% of the material trapped in the DPF is ash. In other words, a high mileage DPF contains much more ash than the soot it was originally designed to capture.” Eventually, comprehensive DPF cleaning strategies will entail having to have your filter properly and thoroughly cleaned to extend the lifespan and maintain the performance of the vehicle the filter is installed on.

Once the filter needs cleaned, you will need to use the proper process to get rid of as much of the accumulated ash. This requires not just a baking process, but a process to remove the ash once the baking process is done. The article even alludes to this by saying “Ash and soot have a number of fundamental differences, both in terms of their particle size and composition, which affect the manner in which they may be removed from the DPF. Cleaning processes that involve heating the DPF, so-called “baking” only remove the combustible portion or soot, and do not remove the ash. Since the ash is incombustible, completely different cleaning processes are required to remove the ash.”

How The Differences in Ash and Soot Impact DPF Cleaning Strategies 2Our EvacuBlast DPF Cleaning Equipment enables you to not only extract the maximum amount of ash from the filter, it allows you to focus the cleaning where needed to maximize the ash removal. As we mentioned in our article Manual vs Automated DPF Cleaning Equipment – Which Method is Best?, we explain this in the following way.

Every DPF, depending on the engine and configuration, has a specific flow pattern when coming from the engine up-stream. You will see all different configurations of DPF placement on a vehicle. From vertical stack behind the cab, horizontal configuration under the step or cab, etc. Each of these configurations will determine where, what we call, the “GUMBALL” will be located in the DPF. Usually the “GUMBALL” will accumulate in an area that is roughly 30% to 40% of the filter. This “GUMBALL” issue is the main reason we favor our manual cleaning system. When we built our EvacuBlast DPF Cleaning System, we designed a manual system that enabled the user to focus additional cleaning on the “Gumball” area of each filter. This results in an overall cleaner filter as extra cleaning time can be spent in specific areas that need it most rather than a uniform amount of time being spent across the filter surface.

We hope this article help you understand the the difference between ash and soot, the reason regeneration is only part of comprehensive DPF cleaning strategies and why our EvacuBlast and EvacuFlush DPF Cleaning Equipment can help you get superior ash removal, restore performance and extend the lifespan of your DPF.

If you have any questions about DPF cleaning strategies or products and services we offer, please contact us today at 800-954-8265. We have the best informed DPF related technical support available in the industry. You can also check out our EvacuBlast DPF Cleaning System by clicking HERE.

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