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CHAPTER 4: EXPERIMENTAL WORK 4.

1 Organization of the experiments Experiments were conducted in the order that as been stated in the work plan. Initially, an experiment was conducted on the existing Paru stove so that we could get an idea of the drawbacks of the existing design. An experiment was also conducted on the existing design of the L-shaped sawdust stove to understand how ideally the Paru stove should ignite. With the observations of the two experiments, preliminary alterations were though of, for the Paru stove design. These were the use of a wire mesh or perforated sheet inner core with the sawdust stove frame. Experiments were carried out with these inner cores on various different types of biomass such as rice husk, sawdust and groundnut shells. The results were quite encouraging and apart from the rice husk, which did not ignite, the other stoves ignited well. However, all these experiments had been carried out on the existing L-shaped sawdust stove frame. When similar experiments were carried out using vertical stoves fashioned out of rectangular tins, it was observed that the vertical stoves were igniting with great difficulty. Hence we decided to carry out simulations to see what the difference was between the vertical and L-shaped configurations (discussed in detail in the next chapter). Simultaneously, four designs were thought of which could use both an inner core as well as the Lshaped design. These designs used an L-shaped core with four core designs: wire mesh core, perforated sheet core, perforated sheet core with fins and L-bent fins which functioned as both an inner core as well as fins. Prototypes were fabricated for each of the designs and experimentation was carried on each of the prototypes using sawdust. As a result of these experiments, the L-bent fin design was observed to be most effective and experimentation was carried out using that design with a mixture of sawdust and coffee husk. All in all around 20 experiments were conducted from which the main 14 experiments have been stated below (Table 4.1). Based on these experiments, the final design stove was decided and a new Paru Stove was fabricated (discussed in a future chapter). 4.1.1 Summary of experiments Exp. No. 1 Date Stove used Existing Paru stove Sawdust stove Sawdust stove Sawdust stove Orient. Biomass used
Sawdust

Results/ Observations We are unable to ignite the stove The ignition was easy

Remarks

14-1

Vertical; with core and fins L-shaped fins L-shaped; wire mesh core L-shaped; wire mesh core

2 3

19-1 12-2

Sawdust Ground nut shells

The thick inner wall makes the heat transfer difficult. -

12-2

Sawdust and ground nut shells

Within few minutes of We need to pack ignition the bed it tightly. Thus collapsed. sawdust was added. Initial weight of The ignition was Biomass: 2.770 kg easy. Rather Final weight of than using sand, Biomass: 2.390 kg wet mud was Loss of weight: 0.31 kg used for Burning duration: 40 insulation. mins

14-2

Sawdust stove Sawdust stove Sawdust stove Prototype stove Prototype stove Prototype stove

L-shaped; wire mesh core L-shaped; wire mesh core L-shaped Vertical Vertical L-shaped; wire mesh core

Rice husk

It couldnt be ignited. There was only smoke. We were able to ignite it in the second try. Ignited easily. Took about 10 mins to ignite. Took about 15 mins to ignite.
Initial weight of Sawdust: 3.180 kg Final weight of Sawdust: 2.390 kg Loss of weight: 0.79 kg Burning duration: 15 mins + 27 mins Initial weight of Sawdust: 3.390 kg Final weight of Sawdust: 2.990 kg Loss of weight: 0.40 kg Burning duration: 23 mins Initial weight of Sawdust: 3.600 kg Final weight of Sawdust: 3.310 kg Loss of weight: 0.29 kg Burning duration: 18 mins Initial weight of Sawdust: 3.710 kg Final weight of Sawdust: 2.635 kg Loss of weight: 1.08 kg Burning duration: 45 mins Initial weight of Sawdust and coffee: 4.180 kg Final weight of biomass: 3.605 kg Loss of weight: 0.58 kg Burning duration: 35 mins

14-2

Rice husk and ground nut shells Sawdust Sawdust Sawdust

To avoid this a mixture of sawdust and rice husk was used. -

7 8 9 10

01-3 01-3 04-3 28-3

Sawdust

Flame was laminar Flame was turbulent Flame was turbulent and sporadic Burnt well, but the re-ignition of the stove was coincidental

11

28-3

Prototype stove

L-shaped; perforated sheet core

Sawdust

Performance not too good

12

28-3

Prototype stove

L-shaped; perforated sheet core with fins

Sawdust

Poor performance

13

28-3

Prototype stove

L-shaped; L- Sawdust bent fins

This design showed the best performance with almost 40% biomass pyrolysing Did not burn as well as the sawdust stove with only about 20% biomass pyrolysing

14

15-4

Prototype stove

L-shaped; L- Sawdust and bent fins


coffee husk

Table 4.1: Summary of results

4.1.2 Description of the prototypes fabricated Fabrication of cores (for expt. 3,4,5,6) In order to make sure that other types of biomass like ground nut shells, rice husk etc, which are not as fine as sawdust, an inner core was designed to provide support. Two inner cylindrical cores were fabricated with the inner radius equal to the radius of the bamboo stick used in the sawdust stove. One of cores was made up of perforated steel sheet (Fig. 4.1) while the other was made up of wire mesh (Fig. 4.2). Two inner cores were fabricated because we were unsure whether the wire mesh would be able to sustain the high temperatures or not. Thus some functional prototypes were made (Fig. 4.3).

Wire mesh

Perforated steel sheet


Figure 4.1: Wire mesh inner core Figure 4.2: Perforated Sheet Figure 4.3: Functional Prototype

Fabrication of prototype stoves (for expt. 10,11,12,13,14) It was decided that the following prototypes would be made to conduct experimentation on. Wire mesh and perforated sheets were chosen as possible materials for the inner chamber as they would provide support to the loose biomass and at the same time have sufficient area for allowing pyrolysis gases through. The perforated sheet design could be with or without fins. However, the wire mesh design had to be without fins as it isnt possible to weld fins onto the wire mesh as it would simply break at the weld point. Hence the following designs were explored: 1. 2. 3. 4. L-shaped stove with inner chamber made of wire mesh without fins (Fig. 4.4) L-shaped stove with inner chamber made of perforated sheet without fins (Fig. 4.5) L-shaped stove with inner chamber made of perforated sheet with fins (Fig. 4.6) L-shaped stove with bent L-shaped fins (Fig. 4.7)

Fig 4.4: Wire mesh core

Fig 4.5: Perforated sheet core

Fig 4.6: Perforated sheet with fins

Fig 4.7: L-bent fins

4.2 Experiments on Sawdust 4.2.1 Vertical configuration 1. Experiment on the existing Paru stove An experiment on the existing Paru stove (Fig. 4.8) was conducted to understand the problems being faced during ignition. The existing Paru stove has an outer cylinder made up of sheet metal (1.6 mm thickness). The inner cylinder is a standard pipe of dia. 3 inch and 1.8mm thickness. The inner cylinder has 256 staggered holes (dia. 5 mm) with a gap of 1 inch between two adjacent rows. 14 fins (42cm x 5.5 cm x 1.6 cm) are attached to the inner cylinder. The fins are radially outward. The annular region is covered with lid to prevent leakages. The Paru stove was filled with saw dust. The sawdust was rammed. Wood dipped in diesel was used for the purpose of ignition. Observations: We were unable to ignite the Paru stove. The reasons for this were that firstly, the weather was extremely cold and secondly, the inner wall of the stove was too thick. This reduced the heat transfer to the sawdust. This in turn made the ignition difficult. In order to solve this problem we decided to make the inner wall of perforated sheets or a wire mesh.

The existing Paru stove

Inner wall
Figure 4.8: existing Paru Stove

2. Experiment on a vertical core prototype The current model of the Paru stove had a vertical inner chamber, and the experimentation done so far had been conducted on an L-shaped stove. Hence even though experimentation had been conducted on the sawdust stove frame using inner chamber meshes, a separate stove was made with a vertical, rather than an L-shaped inner chamber. The stove was a simple oil tin, which had the appropriate holes cut into it.

When such a stove was lit up with sawdust as the biomass, it was observed that the flame that was set up was not sustainable and kept going out. Moreover it was taking a while to even ignite the stove. To test whether the problem with the ignition of the vertical design was due to environmental factors or inherently due to problems in the design, two stoves were simultaneously burnt, one L-shaped and the other vertical, both filled with sawdust with the same moisture level. When the two stoves were simultaneously ignited the L-shaped stove burnt for a much longer duration as compared to the vertical design. Moreover, the vertical stoves flame was more turbulent (Fig. 4.9) as compared to the L-shape, where the flame was more laminar.

Fig 4.9: Turbulent flame

Fig 4.10: progress of pyrolysis front

It could be seen from the pictures that in case of the vertical design, the charring was very little and was mostly in a ring surrounding the annular region (Fig. 4.10). This showed that the pyrolysis front did not progress too far. 3. Another experiment with vertical core prototype We once again carried out the experiment with the vertical stove using sawdust to confirm that there was some problem with the vertical stove design. This time too the flame took a long time to form and was a sporadic flame (Fig. 4.11). It too appeared to be turbulent and went out numerous times and we had to light it again.

Fig 4.11: Sporadic flame

Simulation studies were carried out to see where the advantage lay in using an L-shaped design rather than a vertical design, and those studies clearly showed the advantage of the L-shaped design over the existing design. 4.2.2 L-shaped configuration 1. Experiment on the existing sawdust stove The sawdust stove was ignited to understand how easy it is to ignite a simple sawdust stove. The sawdust used was first dried. Two bamboo sticks were used to form an L shape. The sawdust was rammed. This was done to ensure that there are no air gaps. Presence of air gaps causes two problems. Firstly it acts as an insulating layer and prevents the heat transfer and secondly it can cause combustion rather than pyrolysis. The top exposed layer of the sawdust was covered with sand in order to prevent its combustion. The two bamboo sticks were carefully removed. The sawdust stove was ignited by putting burning pieces of wood in the cylindrical air intake channel (Fig. 4.12).

Burning pieces of wood to ignite the

Figure 4.12: Sawdust Stove: Ignition

The burning wood was removed as soon as the process of pyrolysis began (Fig. 4.13).

Figure 4.13: Sawdust Stove: During Combustion

2. Experiment on existing sawdust stove This experiment was carried out simultaneously with the experiment on the vertical prototype of the stove. As mentioned earlier, the L-shaped design burnt in a more controlled manner. This could be seen in the pictures, where the vertical stoves flame was more turbulent as compared to the L-shape, where the flow was more laminar (Fig. 4.14).

Fig 4.14: Sawdust stove: laminar flame

In the L-shaped stove, charring was more complete as compared to the vertical stove. If we see the pictures below (Fig. 4.15), we can see the extent of charring at various cross sections. This is much higher for the L-shaped design as compared to the vertical one.

Fig 4.15: Progress of pyrolysis front at various heights

3. Experimentation on fabricated prototypes a. With wire mesh core and no fins The L-shaped stove with inner chamber made of wire mesh (Fig. 4.16) without fins ignited easily and stayed alight for 15 mins before the flame started to die out. However, a collapse of the bed at the L-bend caused a flame to re-ignite at the L-leg. This provided additional heat to the biomass to pyrolyse. After the collapse, the stove burnt for an additional 30 mins.

Fig 4.16: Prototype with wire mesh core

Observations: 1) The ignition was easy. 2) However, the bed collapse was just an uncertain event, which means that the stove may extinguish in 15-20 mins each time the stove is burnt.

3) Approximately 40% of the biomass underwent pyrolysis. However, this will be improved when the stove is insulated at its outer wall. b. With perforated sheet core and no fins The L-shaped stove with inner chamber made of perforated sheet without fins took longer to ignite as compared to the first experiment. The stove stayed alight only for 23 mins before the flame died out. The cause for the longer ignition time was the higher thermal inertia of the inner core made of perforated sheet. Observations: 1) The ignition time was longer. 2) The flame that formed was not stable and kept diminishing from time to time and had to be re-ignited with dry leaves and twigs. 3) Only about 17% of the biomass underwent pyrolysis, showing that this prototype was not as successful as the first. c. With perforated sheet core and fins The third experiment conducted, used an L-shaped stove with inner chamber made of perforated sheet with fins (Fig. 4.17). In this case the fins were simply placed touching the perforated sheet, and six fins were used. In this case too the results were very poor. As in the second experiment, the stove took time to ignite and did not stay lit for very long.

Fig 4.17: Prototype with core and fins

Observations: 1) Ignition was not easy. 2) The flame was erratic and not enough pyrolysis appeared to be occurring as we could see that the flame stayed close to the wall. 3) Only about 12% of the biomass pyrolysed. d. With L-bent fins as inner core and fins The fourth experiment was carried out using a fabricated setup that was a novel design. In this design, L-shaped fins were placed concentrically such that they would have a hexagonal gap between them. There would be some gap between each of the fins to allow further heat to enter into the biomass bed. L-shaped fins were suitable as they would be easy to manufacture and drill holes into. The setup would then look something like this (Fig. 4.18):

Fig 4.18: L-bent fin design

The face of the L-fin which would form the inner chamber had holes drilled into them so that the pyrolysis gases could easily enter the inner chamber for getting combusted. For actually preparing the stove for combustion, first, a pipe was placed in the centre of the stove and some biomass was filled in such that the fins if inserted into the biomass would stand up without assistance (Fig. 4.19). Thus the fins were then inserted symmetrically around this pipe. More biomass was then filled and properly rammed into the annular region thus formed. Finally the pipe was removed. This process was observed to be slightly cumbersome.

Fig 4.19: Preparing the L-bent fin stove for combustion

Observations: 1) The ignition of the stove was easy. 2) The flame remained comfortably for 45 mins and hence this prototype showed best performance from amongst all the designs (Fig. 4.20).

Fig 4.20: combustion of L-bend fin prototype

3) Almost 42% of the biomass was pyrolysed. The flame temperatures and flame front could be observed after the experiment was over in the colour changes on the fins (Fig. 4.21):

Fig 4.21: Temperature profile on fin

4.3 Experiments on other biomass 4.3.1 Vertical configuration A few experiments were conducted with either mixtures of sawdust and other biomass such as coffee husk and groundnut shells. However, we had already observed that in vertical configuration with only sawdust, ignition was difficult and the combustion was not sustainable. Similarly, in vertical configuration, using other forms of biomass, the ignition was even more difficult and the combustion in the stove was not sustained. 4.3.2 L-shaped configuration 1. Wire mesh core with groundnut shells The inner core was placed inside the sawdust stove and the groundnut shells were rammed in (Fig 4.22). The groundnut shells were thoroughly rammed. Insulation was provided from the top using sand. For ignition a burning piece of wood was added from the top into the inner core and another was added from the side (Fig. 4.23).

Burning wood added for ignition


Figure 4.22: Groundnut Shells: Preparation Figure 4.23: Groundnut Shells: ignition

Observations: It was seen that within few minutes of ignition the bed collapsed due to burning of the groundnut shells. Groundnut shell cant be packed as tightly as saw dust. Some air pockets are always left. This makes it liable to combustion and as the groundnut shells burn the structure begins to collapse (Fig. 4.24).

The bed collapsed

Figure 4.24: Groundnut Shells: Bed Collapse

2. Wire mesh core with sawdust and groundnut shells The inner core (wire mesh) was placed inside the sawdust stove. Sawdust and groundnut shells were mixed and crushed with hand (Fig. 4.25). This mixture was then put into the stove and thoroughly rammed. Insulation was provided from the top using sand. Similar ignition technique was used as described earlier (Fig. 4.26).

Mixture of sawdust and groundnut shells


Figure 4.25: Sawdust and Groundnut mixture

Flame due to combustion of volatiles

Figure 4.26: Sawdust and groundnut mixture: Ignition

Observations: 1. Ignition was easy. 2. The bed did not collapse. 3. We were using sand for insulating the top, but it was seen that on heating the sand kept on falling in to the core and this extinguished the stove. Thus for the subsequent experiments we have use wet mud for insulation. 4. Complete pyrolysis did not take place. 5. Once the flame had extinguished it was seen that the entire bed was warm. 3. Wire mesh core with rice husk The inner core (wire mesh) was placed inside the sawdust stove. Rice husk was put in the stove. The insulation on the top was provided using wet mud. Similar ignition technique was used as previous. Observations: 1. The ignition wasnt easy. 2. Despite repeated attempts no visible flame due to combustion of volatiles was seen. There was only smoke. 3. The side near the air intake was completely burnt. 4. Burnt rice husk was found sticking to the wall. 5. Rather than undergoing pyrolysis it underwent combustion. This was due to the fact that rice husk isnt as fine as sawdust.

4. Wire mesh core with mixture of rice husk and groundnut shells The inner core (wire mesh) was placed inside the sawdust stove. Rice husk and sawdust were mixed. The mixture was put inside the sawdust stove and thoroughly rammed. Insulation on the top was provided using wet mud. Ignition technique used was same as before (Fig. 4.27).

Mud used for insulation Flame due to combustion of volatiles


Figure 4.27: Rice Husk and Sawdust: Ignition

Observations: We had to try twice to ignite the stove. During the first try it was seen that even though pyrolysis had begun it couldnt sustain itself and the flame would extinguish. But during the second try it easily ignited. The conditions on the day of the experiment were windy and it was seen that the flame was one sided (Fig. 4.28). This was due to the fact that the air intake is L in shape. Once the combustion was over, a visual comparison was done between what was left from this experiment and experiment 4 and it was seen that very less husk and sawdust had burnt.

Inlet

Directio n of wind

The flame is on one side during windy conditions


Figure 4.28: Rice Husk and Sawdust: Flame

5. Prototype stove with L-bent fins with a mixture of sawdust and coffee husk This was the final experiment carried out on the prototype stoves. As we had finalized the Lbent fin design for fabrication, while the fabrication was being carried out, an experiment was conducted to observe the performance of the prototype stove with a mixture of sawdust and coffee husk as fuel. Observations: 1. The stove did not burn as well as the sawdust stove, and only about 20% of the fuel was pyrolysed. 2. However, the performance of the stove was definitely decent, burning for almost 35 mins.

4.4 Discussion After all the experimentation that was carried out, there were numerous interesting observations that came to light. Firstly, the vertical configuration was found to be unsuitable for the Paru stove as it was difficult to light the vertical configuration stove. On the other hand, the L-shaped stove ignited and combusted easily for most types of biomass. Secondly, rice husk had some inherent qualities that prevented it from igniting easily. The most important among these was the high silica content of this husk. Thirdly, among the prototypes explored, the L-bent fin design showed the best performance. This design was chosen for fabrication.