The current CJ-4 oil specification places a limit on the oil’s sulfated ash content of 1.0% to reduce the build-up of lubricant-derived ash in the diesel particulate filter (DPF). Lubricant additives, specifically detergents and anti-wear additives, contribute to most of the sulfated ash content in the oil and ash accumulation in the DPF, and hence are studied with increasing interest in the optimization of the combined engine-oil-aftertreatment system. However, characteristics of ash deposits found in the particulate filter, which are affected by a number of parameters, differ markedly from those of the ASTM-method defined sulfated ash. In addition, ash characteristics and effects on DPF performance vary substantially among the different metallic base in the additives, specifically calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Through a series of carefully-controlled tests with specially-formulated lubricant additives, this work quantified the individual and combined effects of the most common detergent and anti-wear additives on the ash properties which directly influence DPF pressure drop.
The results show that different lubricant additive formulations (Ca, Zn, Mg) produce profound differences in DPF pressure drop. It was found that DPF ash is a complex mixture of metals (Ca, Zn, Mg) in the form of sulfates, phosphates, and oxides. These ash compounds each have unique physical properties, which affect DPF pressure drop differently. In particular, ash containing calcium sulfate compounds resulted in an increase in filter pressure drop by over a factor of two, relative to the same amount of ash composed only of zinc phosphate or magnesium oxide compounds, at the same ash loading in the DPF. In addition, synergistic effects due to specific additive combinations were also explored and showed significant differences in ash composition and degree of exhaust flow restriction imposed by the ash resulting from specific additive combinations, as opposed to the individual additives themselves. Results are useful not only for lubricant formulators to design oils for improved aftertreatment system compatibility, but also to understand the practical effects of ash in the DPF in relation to the standardized sulfated ash definition in the lubricant specification.