Effect of dimethyl ether (DME) addition on sooting limits in counterflow diffusion flames of ethylene at elevated pressures

Zepeng Li, Hafiz Amin, Peng Liu, Yu Wang, Suk Ho Chung, William L. Roberts

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34 Scopus citations


The effects of dimethyl ether (DME) addition to ethylene fuel on sooting tendencies with varying pressure were investigated in counterflow diffusion flames by using a laser scattering technique. Sooting limit maps were determined in the fuel (XF) and oxygen (XO) mole fraction plane, separating sooting and non-sooting regions. The results showed that when DME is mixed to ethylene, the sooting region was appreciably shrank, especially in the cases of soot formation/oxidation (SFO) flames as compared with the cases of soot formation (SF) flames. This indicated an inhibiting role of DME on sooting. An interesting observation was that the critical XO required for sooting initially decreased and then increased with the DME mixing ratio to ethylene β for the cases of SF flames, exhibiting a non-monotonic behavior. This implied a promoting role of DME on sooting when small amount of DME is mixed to ethylene. As the pressure increased, the sooting region generally expanded. Specifically, the range of β in promoting soot formation extended with pressure. This implies that a strategy in reducing soot by adding DME to ethylene at high pressures required a large amount of DME addition. To interpret the observed phenomena, kinetic simulations including reaction pathway and sensitivity analyses were conducted with the opposed-flow flames model using the KAUST-Aramco PAH Mech. The results showed that the thermal effect of DME addition on sooting tendency monotonically decreases with β. The chemical effect was found to be the main contributor to the DME addition effect on sooting tendency, resulting in the non-monotonic sooting limt behavior. The pathway analysis showed the role of methyl radicals generated from DME promoted incipient benzene ring formtion when small amount of DME was added, which can be attributed to the soot promoting role of DME addition for small β.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-470
Number of pages8
JournalCombustion and Flame
StatePublished - Sep 16 2018

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This research was supported by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). The work at the Wuhan University of Technology was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (2017YFC0211201) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51606136).


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