A Pollution-Free Aerosol Dispenser

EPA Contract Number: 68D01020
Title: A Pollution-Free Aerosol Dispenser
Investigators: Sivathanu, Yudava
Small Business: EnUrga Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: April 1, 2001 through September 1, 2001
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , SBIR - Air Pollution , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


This project involves the development of a consumer aerosol dispenser that seeks to eliminate the volatile organic compound (VOC) solvents and hydrocarbon (HC) propellants used in many commercial sprays. The two distinguishing features of the dispenser are: (1) application of ligament-controlled effervescent atomization for producing very small droplets independent of the fluid viscosity, and (2) a microlaminated nozzle to control both the Sauter mean diameter and the distribution of drop sizes. These two features allow for the elimination (reduction in certain applications) of VOC carrier liquids and HC propellants in conventional aerosol dispensers.

For consumer products, large droplets in the spray can cause excessive wetting, while small droplets are easily inhalable. Therefore, it is crucial to achieve a narrow drop size distribution, particularly under transient injection. The targeted drop size by the consumer spray industry is approximately 50 µm. During a prior Phase I project, En'Urga, Inc., found that the injector was successful in providing drops that had a mean drop size of approximately 50 µm with a very narrow distribution. The advantage of using effervescent atomization is that the injectors are expected to be insensitive to fluid properties. The major task for the present Phase I work is to design and fabricate a prototype aerosol container. During the Phase II work, commercially available products that contain VOCs will be sprayed using nitrogen, rather than hydrocarbon propellants, and reformulated products (which are dissolved in nonpolluting carriers) will be sprayed using nitrogen.

The three major consumer applications of the proposed effervescent dispenser are in the paint (spray cans), cosmetic (deodorants, hair sprays, etc.), and chemical (antiseptic, fabric care, etc.) industries. Other commercial applications include painting of automobiles and other consumer goods such as furniture and appliances. All of these industries will benefit substantially from reduced VOC and HC usage. Initial interest from consumer product manufacturers is very high.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, volatile organic compounds, VOCs, hydrocarbons, aerosol, pollution prevention, emissions, engineering, chemistry, EPA, air pollution., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Toxics, exploratory air engineering, particulate matter, Chemical Engineering, air toxics, Environmental Chemistry, VOCs, Analytical Chemistry, exploratory air chemistry and physics, 33/50, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Environmental Engineering, emission control strategies, air pollutants, Propellants, hydrocarbon, ambient air, consumer aerosol dispenser, atmospheric aerosols, aerosol dispenser, efferescent atomization, hydrocarbons, aerosol, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report