Sooting Characteristics and Modeling in Counterflow Diffusion Flames

  • Yu Wang

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Soot formation is one of the most complex phenomena in combustion science and an understanding of the underlying physico-chemical mechanisms is important. This work adopted both experimental and numerical approaches to study soot formation in laminar counterfl ow diffusion flames. As polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are the precursors of soot particles, a detailed gas-phase chemical mechanism describing PAH growth upto coronene for fuels with 1 to 4 carbon atoms was validated against laminar premixed and counter- flow diffusion fl ames. Built upon this gas-phase mechanism, a soot model was then developed to describe soot inception and surface growth. This soot model was sub- sequently used to study fuel mixing effect on soot formation in counterfl ow diffusion flames. Simulation results showed that compared to the baseline case of the ethylene flame, the doping of 5% (by volume) propane or ethane in ethylene tends to increase the soot volume fraction and number density while keeping the average soot size almost unchanged. These results are in agreement with experimental observations. Laser light extinction/scattering as well as laser induced fluorescence techniques were used to study the effect of strain rate on soot and PAH formation in counterfl ow diffusion ames. The results showed that as strain rate increased both soot volume fraction and PAH concentrations decreased. The concentrations of larger PAH were more sensitive to strain rate compared to smaller ones. The effect of CO2 addition on soot formation was also studied using similar experimental techniques. Soot loading was reduced with CO2 dilution. Subsequent numerical modeling studies were able to reproduce the experimental trend. In addition, the chemical effect of CO2 addition was analyzed using numerical data. Critical conditions for the onset of soot were systematically studied in counterfl ow diffusion ames for various gaseous hydrocarbon fuels and at different strain rates. A sooting temperature index (STI) and a sooting sensitivity index (SSI) were proposed to present the sooting tendencies of different fuels and their sensitivities to strain rates.
Date of AwardNov 2013
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorWilliam Roberts (Supervisor)


  • Soot Formation
  • Counterflow Diffusion Flames
  • Modeling
  • PAH Formation

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