Kinetic effects of aromatic molecular structures on diffusion flame extinction

Sang Hee Won, Stephen Dooley, Frederick L. Dryer, Yiguang Ju

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Kinetic effects of aromatic molecular structures for jet fuel surrogates on the extinction of diffusion flames have been investigated experimentally and numerically in the counterflow configuration for toluene, n-propylbenzene, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, and 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene. Quantitative measurement of OH concentration for aromatic fuels was conducted by directly measuring the quenching rate from the emission lifetimes of OH planar laser induced fluorescence (LIF). The kinetic models for toluene and 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene were validated against the measurements of extinction strain rates and LIF measurements. A semi-detailed n-propylbenzene kinetic model was developed and tested. The experimental results showed that the extinction limits are ranked from highest to lowest as n-propylbenzene, toluene, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, and 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene. The present models for toluene and n-propylbenzene agree reasonably well with the measurements, whereas the model for 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene under-estimates extinction limits. Kinetic pathways of OH production and consumption were analyzed to investigate the impact of fuel fragmentation on OH formation. It was found that, for fuels with different molecular structures, the fuel decomposition pathways and their propagation into the formation of radical pool play an important role to determine the extinction limits of diffusion flames. Furthermore, OH concentrations were found to be representative of the entire radical pool concentration, the balance between chain branching and propagation/termination reactions and the balance between heat production from the reaction zone and heat losses to the fuel and oxidizer sides. Finally, a proposed "OH index," was defined to demonstrate a linear correlation between extinction strain rate and OH index and fuel mole fraction, suggesting that the diffusion flame extinctions for the tested aromatic fuels can be determined by the capability of a fuel to establish a radical pool in a manner largely governed by molecular structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1163-1170
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • Extinction limit
  • Jet fuel surrogate
  • Kinetic mechanism
  • OH index


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