Allylic-alkylic C-C bond decomposition in 1-butene and 1-pentene

Chengyu Zhou, Dapeng Liu*, Aamir Farooq

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


1-Butene and 1-pentene are critical intermediates in the oxidation and pyrolysis of larger alkanes and alcohols. Their thermal decomposition plays important role in fuel consumption under combustion conditions, yet seldom investigated. In this work, we studied the title reactions behind reflected shock waves over temperatures of 1178 – 1416 K and pressures near 1.2 bar. We monitored absorbance time-history of the product allyl radicals by employing a sensitive UV diagnostic scheme at a wavelength of 220 nm. We extracted the target rate coefficients by simulating the measured absorbance profiles with detailed kinetic models. Our determined rate coefficients of 1-butene (k1) and 1-pentene (k2) thermal decomposition may be expressed as (unit s−1): [Formula presented]We believe the current work provides the first direct measurements of these reactions. Our 1-butene thermal decomposition rate coefficients exhibit a positive Arrhenius temperature dependence. Around 1350 K and 1 bar, 1-butene decomposition proceeds ∼ 4.5 times faster than n-butane, and ∼ 66 times faster than 1,3-butadiene. Our work extends the literature measurements of 1-butene decomposition to temperatures higher than 1310 K. Literature measurements above 1000 K underestimate our rate coefficients by ∼ 20 %. Additionally, our 1-butene rate coefficients provide an analogy to bio-derived molecules containing similar allylic-alkylic C-C bonds, such as methyl-3-hexenoate. For 1-pentene thermal decomposition, we observed the product allyl radicals starting from 1178 K compared to 1213 K in 1-butene measurements. Thus 1-pentene decomposition proceeds 2 – 6 times faster than 1-butene, and shows a gentler Arrhenius temperature dependence. The current literature models exhibit a range of rate values that vary by an order of magnitude, resulting in noticeable discrepancies. Our study addresses this issue by providing much-needed clarity and precision. Furthermore, we implemented our rate coefficients in literature kinetic models and evaluated their influence on ignition delay time (IDT) and speciation measurements. The results indicate that our rate coefficients generally improved the model performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113289
JournalCombustion and Flame
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Combustion Institute


  • 1-Butene
  • 1-Pentene
  • Allyl radical
  • Thermal decomposition
  • UV absorption diagnostic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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