Effects of hydrodynamics and mixing on soot formation and growth in laminar coflow diffusion flames at elevated pressures

Ahmed Abdelgadir, Ihsan Allah Rakha, Scott A. Steinmetz, Antonio Attili, Fabrizio Bisetti*, William L. Roberts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The formation, growth, and oxidation of soot are studied in a set of laminar coflow diffusion flames at pressures ranging from 1 to 8 atm. The modeling approach combines detailed finite rate chemical kinetics mechanisms that model the formation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) species up to pyrene, and a bivariate method of moments that describes soot particles and aggregates by their volume and surface area. The spatial distribution of soot observed experimentally and that predicted numerically are in good qualitative agreement with the peak soot volume fraction located at the flame tip and soot appearing on the flame wings and closer to the nozzle as pressure increases. A detailed analysis of the effect of hydrodynamics and mixing on soot formation is presented. We show that the scalar dissipation rate is lower for the higher pressure flames, promoting the formation of PAH species and soot. Thus, the observed increase in soot volume fraction across flames with increasing pressure is not due solely to mixture density and kinetics effects, rather is affected by hydrodynamics and mixing processes also. Similarly, our results indicate that the decrease in the scalar dissipation rate contribute to changing the location where soot forms in the flame, with soot formation occurring closer to the nozzle and outward on the flame's wings as pressure increases. Radiative heat losses are found to lower the flame temperature, inducing a reduction of the PAH species and associated rates of soot formation. However, heat losses are responsible for a slightly longer flame, which allows for more soot. The overall effect is a modest variation of soot volume fraction if radiation is included.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-53
Number of pages15
JournalCombustion and Flame
StatePublished - 2017


  • Coflow flames
  • Ethylene
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Pressurized flames
  • Scalar dissipation rate
  • Soot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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