Investigation of mass and energy coupling between soot particles and gas species in modelling ethylene counterflow diffusion flames

L. Zimmer (Corresponding author), F.M. Pereira, J.A. van Oijen, L.P.H. de Goey

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A numerical model is developed aiming at investigating soot formation in ethylene counterflow diffusion flames. The mass and energy coupling between soot solid particles and gas-phase species is investigated in detail. A semi-empirical two-equation model is chosen for predicting soot mass fraction and number density. The model describes particle nucleation, surface growth, and oxidation. A detailed kinetic mechanism is considered for the gas phase and the effect of considering radiation heat losses is also evaluated. Simulations were done for a range of conditions that produce low-to-significant amounts of soot using three strategies: first by changing the strain rate imposed on the flow field, second, by changing the oxygen content in the oxidant stream, and third, by changing the pressure. Additionally, the effect of the transport model chosen was analysed. The results showed that, for the flames studied and within the limits of the present work, the soot and gas radiation terms are of primary importance for numerical simulations. Additionally, it was shown that the soot mass and thermodynamic properties coupling terms are, in general, a second-order effect, with an importance that increases as soot amount increases. As a general recommendation, the radiation terms have always to be considered, whereas full coupling has to be employed only when the soot mass fraction, YS, is equal to or larger than 0.008. If a higher precision is required, with errors less than 1%, full coupling should be taken into account for YS ≥ 0.002. For lower soot amounts, the coupling through soot mass and thermodynamic properties may be neglected as a first approximation, but an error on the total mass conservation will be present. Additionally, discrepancies from considering different transport models (detailed or simplified) are larger than those found from not fully coupling the phases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-379
Number of pages22
JournalCombustion Theory and Modelling
Issue number2
Early online date14 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • combustion
  • counterflow diffusion flame
  • mass and energy coupling
  • soot formation
  • soot model


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