Experimental and computational study of nonpremixed ignition of dimethyl ether in counterflow

X. L. Zheng, T. F. Lu, C. K. Law, C. K. Westbrook, H. J. Curran

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


The ignition temperature of nitrogen-diluted dimethyl ether (DME) by heated air in counterflow was experimentally determined for DME concentration from 5.9% to 30%, system pressure from 1.5 to 3.0 atm, and pressure-weighted strain rate from 110 to 170 s-1. These experimental data were compared with two mechanisms that were, respectively, available in 1998 and 2003, with the latter being a substantially updated version of the former. The comparison showed that while the 1998-mechanism uniformly over-predicted the ignition temperature, the 2003-mechanism yielded a surprisingly close agreement for all experimental data. Sensitivity analysis for the near-ignition state based on both mechanisms identified the deficiencies of the 1998-mechanism, in particular, the specifics of the low-temperature cool flame chemistry in effecting ignition at higher temperatures, as the fuel stream is being progressively heated from its cold boundary to the high-temperature ignition region around the hot-stream boundary. The 2003-mechanism, consisting of 79 species and 398 elementary reactions, was then systematically simplified by using the directed relation graph method to a skeletal mechanism of 49 species and 251 elementary reactions, which in turn was simplified further by using computational singular perturbation method and quasisteady- state species assumption to a reduced mechanism consisting of 33 species and 28 lumped reactions. It was demonstrated that both the skeletal and reduced mechanisms mimicked the performance of the detailed mechanism with high accuracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1101-1109
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005
Event30th International Symposium on Combustion - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: Jul 25 2004Jul 30 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


  • Dimethyl ether
  • Ignition
  • Reduced mechanism


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