Autoignition of an ethanol-based gel droplet was experimentally investigated by adding 10 wt % of methylcellulose as gellant to liquid ethanol. Experimental studies of the ignition behavior of the gel droplet were found to be quite rare. The initial droplet diameter was 1.17 ± 0.23 mm. The gel droplet was suspended on a K-type thermocouple and its evaporation, ignition and combustion characteristics were evaluated and compared with pure ethanol at an ambient temperature of 600, 700, and 800 °C under atmospheric pressure conditions. The gel droplet exhibited swelling and vapor jetting phenomena. Before ignition, a linear decrease in droplet diameter followed by a sudden increase was repeatedly observed, which was caused by evaporation and swelling processes, respectively. Major droplet swelling was detected just before the onset of ignition at all temperatures. But no further swelling was detected after ignition. For the gel droplet, the ignition delay accounted for 93% of the droplet lifetime at 600 °C, and 88% at 700 °C, but only 31% at 800 °C. Its average burning rate was also evaluated for all temperatures. At 800 °C, the gellant layer no longer exerts any influence on the combustion of the gel droplet.
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