An experimental and kinetic modeling study of methyl decanoate combustion

S. M. Sarathy, M. J. Thomson, W. J. Pitz, T. Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Biodiesel is typically a mixture of long chain fatty acid methyl esters for use in compression ignition engines. Improving biofuel engine performance requires understanding its fundamental combustion properties and the pathways of combustion. This research study presents new combustion data for methyl decanoate in an opposed-flow diffusion flame. An improved detailed chemical kinetic model for methyl decanoate combustion is developed, which serves as the basis for deriving a skeletal mechanism via the direct relation graph method. The novel skeletal mechanism consists of 648 species and 2998 reactions. The skeletal mechanism reproduces the behavior of the fully detailed mechanism in plug flow and stirred reactors for temperatures of 900-1800 K, equivalence ratios of 0.25-2.0, and pressures of 101 and 1013 kPa. This mechanism well predicts the methyl decanoate opposed-flow diffusion flame data. The results from the flame simulations indicate that methyl decanoate is consumed via abstraction of hydrogen atoms to produce fuel radicals, which lead to the production of alkenes. The ester moiety in methyl decanoate leads to the formation of low molecular weight oxygenated compounds such as carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and ketene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-405
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The portion of this work supported by LLNL was performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344. The work at University of Connecticut was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0904771 . Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


  • Biodiesel
  • Chemical kinetic model
  • Combustion
  • Methyl decanoate
  • Skeletal mechanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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