Experimental and modeling study on pyrolysis of n-decane initiated by nitromethane

Zhenjian Jia, Zhandong Wang, Zhanjun Cheng, Weixing Zhou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Initiator could accelerate the rate of hydrocarbon pyrolysis and reduce the required material temperatures for a hypersonic aircraft heat exchanger/reactor. Nitroalkanes were proposed as the effective initiator because of the lower CN bond dissociation energy. In order to investigate the initiation mechanism of nitroalkanes on hydrocarbon pyrolysis, the pyrolysis of n-decane, nitromethane and their binary mixture were carried out at 30, 150 and 760 Torr in a flow reactor with synchrotron vacuum ultraviolet photoionization mass spectrometry (SVUV-PIMS). The identified and quantified pyrolysis species include C1C2 alkanes, C2C10 alkenes, C3C6 dialkenes, C2C3 alkynes, nitrogen oxides such as NO and NO2, benzene, and radicals including CH3, C3H3, and C3H5, which shed light on the mechanism of n-decane and nitromethane pyrolysis, as well as the interactions of these two fuels. The experimental results indicate that the addition of nitromethane decreases the initial decomposition temperature of n-decane, and a stronger promotion effect could be obtained as the experimental pressure increases. The distributions of alkanes, alkenes, dialkenes, alkynes and benzene are also influenced by the addition of nitromethane. A detailed kinetic model with 266 species and 1648 reactions was developed and validated against the mole fraction profiles of reactants, major products and important intermediates during the pyrolysis of each fuel and their binary mixture. The satisfactory model prediction to the experimental measurements permits the analysis of the kinetic effect of nitromethane initiation on the pyrolysis of n-decane. So that, the increase of the conversion rate at a lower temperature, the selectivity of decomposition products, and reduction of benzene formation are better understood.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-258
Number of pages13
JournalCombustion and Flame
StatePublished - Jan 15 2016

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This research was supported by Natural Science Foundation of China (11079017), (U1432130). Dr. Hanfeng Jin and Dr. Mingfeng Xie are appreciated for the assistance in experiments at NSRL.


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