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Old 08-06-2023, 06:51   #1
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Particulate matter in air - any impact to small diesel engine?

Some areas of the US are inundated with smoke blown down from Canadian wild fires.

My Yanmar's foam air filter element doesn't look like it would do much against these fine particulates.

Any thoughts on whether motoring in these conditions can damage the engine?
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Old 08-06-2023, 06:56   #2
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Re: Particulate matter in air - any impact to small diesel engine?

Doubt it will do any damage to your motor. If it would be a problem, they would put a finer particulate filter on the motor.
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Old 08-06-2023, 07:10   #3
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Re: Particulate matter in air - any impact to small diesel engine?

Not the first time we have had smoke in the air from wild fires or controlled burns. My used oil analysis never showed any differences from smoke vs non smoke time periods.
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Old 08-06-2023, 07:19   #4
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Re: Particulate matter in air - any impact to small diesel engine?

Great. Thanks for quick replies.
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Old 08-06-2023, 07:21   #5
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Re: Particulate matter in air - any impact to small diesel engine?

Nothing to worry about at all. I would be much more concerned with your own air intake
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Old 08-06-2023, 07:35   #6
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Re: Particulate matter in air - any impact to small diesel engine?

And smoke gets in your eyes per today's marine forecast

*PATCHY DENSE SMOKE POSSIBLE THIS MORNING FOR LONG ISLAND SOUND,
LONG ISLAND BAYS AND THE OCEAN WATERS FROM FIRE ISLAND INLET TO
MONTAUK POINT OUT 20 NM***

Visibilities will be reduced to 1 to 3 nm this morning due to
smoke. There may be patchy dense smoke at times with visibilities
reduced to 1 nm or less. Reduce your speed, and keep a lookout for
other vessels, buoys, and breakwaters. Keep your navigation
lights on. If not equipped with radar, you should consider seeking
safe harbor.
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Old 08-06-2023, 07:35   #7
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Re: Particulate matter in air - any impact to small diesel engine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chotu View Post
Nothing to worry about at all. I would be much more concerned with your own air intake
One of the best comments ever!

I think the only potential danger would be if your air filter is fine enough to capture the fine particulate matter and then gets clogged -- clogged air filters can be a problem affecting performance. I doubt, as you also do, that your air filter is fine enough to capture the stuff in the air from Canada.
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Old 08-06-2023, 08:45   #8
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Re: Particulate matter in air - any impact to small diesel engine?

Yes, of course, we are taking care of our own "air intake" first
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Old 09-06-2023, 02:16   #9
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Re: Particulate matter in air - any impact to small diesel engine?

I don’t know how efficient the typical engine air filtre is, in capturing PM2.5 fine wildfire smoke particulate; but, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to see that filters reach terminal restriction faster, with air & oil* filters needing to be changed more frequently, than when they operate in more typical smoke-free driving conditions.

* Smoke particles, that make their way through the air filtre, will make their way into the engine, and therefore into the oil filtration system.
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Old 09-06-2023, 03:01   #10
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Re: Particulate matter in air - any impact to small diesel engine?

“How we measure air quality and what the numbers mean” ~ by Benjamin Shingler · CBC News
From AQHI to PM2.5, here's a primer on the charts and figures used during wildfire season
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/aqhi-...moke-1.6869979
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Old 09-06-2023, 06:54   #11
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Re: Particulate matter in air - any impact to small diesel engine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by leecea View Post
Some areas of the US are inundated with smoke blown down from Canadian wild fires.

My Yanmar's foam air filter element doesn't look like it would do much against these fine particulates.

Any thoughts on whether motoring in these conditions can damage the engine?
Those fine particles are soot. Mostly carbon. They will quite happily burn in your combustion chamber. The amount of soot being taken IN by the engine is a totally insignificant amount compared to the amount being generated inside the engine and blown out in the exhaust.

A "lot" of soot in the air is 200 PPM or 0.02% A "lot" of soot from a diesel engine exhaust is 2%.

Trust me, your engine is hurting the air a LOT more than the air is hurting it!!!!
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Old 09-06-2023, 09:05   #12
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Re: Particulate matter in air - any impact to small diesel engine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailingHarmonie View Post
...
1. A "lot" of soot in the air is 200 PPM or 0.02% A "lot" of soot from a diesel engine exhaust is 2%.

2. Trust me, your engine is hurting the air a LOT more than the air is hurting it!!!!
1. For PM2.5 a range of 55–110 μg/m3 [0.05 - 0.11 PPM] is generally considered higher risk.

1 PPM = 1,000 microgram per meter cubed. [µg/m3 stands for micrograms per cubic metre]

2. Good point.
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Old 09-06-2023, 13:09   #13
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Re: Particulate matter in air - any impact to small diesel engine?

Wildfire smoke is comprised of a mixture of gaseous pollutants (e.g., carbon monoxide), hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) (e.g., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons [PAHs]), water vapor, and particulate matter (PM or soot).

Wildfire smoke is a complex mixture of gases, particles, and water vapour that contains:
ozone
sulphur dioxide
nitrogen dioxide
carbon monoxide
volatile organic compounds
fine particulate matter (PM2.5, roughly 50 times smaller than a grain of sand)

There is no evidence of a safe level of exposure, for most of these pollutants, but PM2.5 may pose the greatest risk.

What exactly is in a wildfire’s smoke* depends on a few key things: what’s burning – grass, brush or trees; the temperature – is it flaming or just smoldering; and the distance between the person breathing the smoke and the fire producing it.

Two forms of combustion characterize wildfires: flaming, and smoldering. Flaming is the rapid oxidization of the flame, which occurs rapidly, releasing mainly carbon dioxide and water.
Smoldering is a slow process, where there is a high conversion of fuel to toxic compounds, such as carbon monoxide, non-methane organic compounds, and aerosols.

The distance affects the ability of smoke to “age,” meaning to be acted upon by the Sun, and other chemicals in the air, as it travels. Aging can make it more toxic.
Importantly, large particles like what most people think of as ash do not typically travel that far from the fire, but small particles, or aerosols, can travel across continents.

* Smoke can contain many different chemicals, including aldehydes, acid gases, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), benzene, toluene, styrene, metals and dioxins. The type and amount of particles and chemicals in smoke varies, depending on what is burning, how much oxygen is available, and the burn temperature.
Boreal forests tend to produce more carbon monoxide, methane, and fine particulate matter, than other biomes.

Particles can be made up of different components, including acids (e.g., sulfuric acid), inorganic compounds (e.g., ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate, and sodium chloride), organic chemicals, soot, metals, soil or dust particles, and biological materials (e.g., pollen and mold spores).

People who are at risk for health effects due to wildfire smoke should be concerned about particles that are 10 micrometers (µm) in diameter or smaller, because these are the particles that generally pass through the nose and throat, and enter the lungs, with the smallest particles (< 2.5 µm) possibly even translocating into circulation [blood stream].


The air quality index ranges from 0 to 500, though air quality can be indexed beyond 500, when there are higher levels of hazardous air pollution.
Good air quality ranges from 0 to 50 [tho’ any measurement greater than 12.0 μg/m3 (US AQI 50)] can be dangerous to human health, while measurements over 300 are considered hazardous.

The EPA’s current 24-hour PM2.5 standard was issued in 2006.
o EPA is retaining the existing 24-hour fine particle standard, at 35 μg/m3 [0.035 PPM]. An area meets the 24-hour standard if the 98th percentile of 24-hour PM2.5 concentrations in one year, averaged over three years, is less than or equal to 35 μg/m3.
https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/fi..._factsheet.pdf



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Old 09-06-2023, 21:15   #14
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Re: Particulate matter in air - any impact to small diesel engine?

Thank you for your excellent tutorials Gord May. Bit late for me as I was a welder.
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Old 10-06-2023, 02:05   #15
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Re: Particulate matter in air - any impact to small diesel engine?

This is pure woodsmoke, of the type burned worldwide for millennia.
Plus-it is mixed with pure Canadian air!!
Breath deeply...& enjoy...
Cheers/Len
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