An experimental and modeling study of tetramethyl ethylene pyrolysis with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon formation

Shashank S. Nagaraja*, Jinhu Liang, Bingzhi Liu, Qiang Xu, Can Shao, Goutham Kukkadapu, Haitao Lu, Zhandong Wang, Willam J. Pitz, S. Mani Sarathy, Henry J. Curran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Iso-olefins, in the C5–C8 range can potentially be blended with renewable gasoline fuels to increase their research octane number (RON) and octane sensitivity (S). RON and S increase with the degree of branching in iso-olefins and this is a desirable fuel anti-knock quality in modern spark-ignited direct-injection engines. However, these iso-olefins tend to form larger concentrations of aromatic species leading to the formation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Thus, it is important to understand the pyrolysis chemistry of these iso-olefins. In this study, a new detailed chemical kinetic mechanism is developed to describe the pyrolysis of tetramethyl ethylene (TME), a symmetric iso-olefin. The mechanism, which includes the formation of PAHs, is validated against species versus temperature (700–1160 K) measurements in a jet-stirred reactor at atmospheric pressure and in a single-pulse shock tube at a pressure of 5 bar in the temperature range 1150–1600 K. Synchrotron vacuum ultraviolet photoionization mass spectrometer (SVUV-PIMS) and gas chromatography (GC) systems were used to quantify the species in the jet-stirred reactor and in the single-pulse shock tube, respectively. The mechanism derives its base and PAH chemistry from the LLNL PAH sub-mechanism. The predictions are accurate for most of the species measured in both facilities. However, there is scope for mechanism improvement by understanding the consumption pathways for some of the intermediate species such as isoprene. The formation of 1, 2, and 3-ring aromatic species such as benzene, toluene, naphthalene and phenanthrene measured experimentally is analyzed using the chemical kinetic mechanism. It is found that the PAH formation chemistry for TME under pyrolysis conditions is driven by both propargyl addition reactions and the HACA mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1029-1037
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • 2,3-dimethyl-2-butene
  • Flux analysis
  • Jet stirred reactor
  • PAH formation
  • Pyrolysis
  • Single-pulse shock tube
  • Tetramethyl ethylene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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