Measurements of soot formation and hydroxyl concentration in near-critical equivalence ratio premixed ethylene flames

Michael Andrew Inbody, Purdue University


The testing and development of existing global and detailed chemical kinetic models for soot formation requires measurements of soot and radical concentrations in flames. A clearer understanding of soot particle inception relies upon the evaluation and refinement of these models in comparison with such measurements. We present measurements of soot formation and hydroxyl (OH) concentration in sequences of flat premixed atmospheric-pressure C$\sb2$H$\sb4$/O$\sb2$/N$\sb2$ flames and 80-torr C$\sb2$H$\sb4$/O$\sb2$ flames for a unique range of equivalence ratios bracketing the critical equivalence ratio ($\phi\sb{c}$) and extending to more heavily sooting conditions. Soot volume fraction and number density profiles are measured using a laser scattering-extinction apparatus capable of resolving a 0.1% absorption. Hydroxyl number density profiles are measured using laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) with broadband detection. Temperature profiles are obtained from Rayleigh scattering measurements. The relative volume fraction and number density profiles of the richer sooting flames exhibit the expected trends in soot formation. In near-$\phi\sb{c}$ visibly sooting flames, particle scattering and extinction are not detected, but an LIF signal due to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) can be detected upon excitation with an argon-ion laser. A linear correlation between the argon-ion LIF and the soot volume fraction implies a common mechanistic source for the growth of PAHs and soot particles. The peak OH number density in both the atmospheric and 80-torr flames declines with increasing equivalence ratio, but the profile shape remains unchanged in the transition to sooting, implying that the primary reaction pathways for OH remain unchanged over this transition. Chemical kinetic modelling is demonstrated by comparing predictions using two current reaction mechanisms with the atmospheric flame data. The measured and predicted OH number density profiles show good agreement. The predicted benzene number density profiles correlate with the measured trends in soot formation, although anomalies in the benzene profiles for the richer and cooler sooting flames suggest a need for the inclusion of benzene oxidation reactions.




King, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Mechanical engineering

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