Ion transport membrane (ITM) reactors present an attractive technology for combined air separation and fuel conversion in applications such as syngas production, oxidative coupling or oxy-combustion, with the promise of lower capital and operating costs, as well higher product selectivities than traditional technologies. The oxygen permeation rate through a given ITM is defined by the membrane temperature and oxygen chemical potential difference across it. Both of these parameters can be strongly influenced by thermochemical reactions occurring in the vicinity of the membrane, though in the literature they are often characterized in terms of the well mixed product stream at the reactor exit. This work presents the development of a novel ITM reactor for the fundamental investigation of the coupling between fuel conversion and oxygen permeation under well defined fluid dynamic and thermodynamic conditions, including provisions for spatially resolved, in-situ investigations. A planar, finite gap stagnation flow reactor with optical and probe access to the reaction zone is used to facilitate in-situ measurements and cross-validation with detailed numerical simulations. Using this novel reactor, baseline measurements are presented to elucidate the impact of the sweep gas fuel (CH4) fraction on the oxygen permeation and fuel conversion. In addition, the difference between well-mixed gas compositions measured at the reactor outlet and those measured in the vicinity of the membrane surface are discussed, demonstrating the unique utility of the reactor. © 2012 The Combustion Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.