Extinction characteristics of catalyst-assisted combustion in a stagnation-point flow reactor

Jingjing Li, Hong G. Im*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


As a fundamental study to understand physical and chemical characteristics in catalyst-assisted combustion, numerical simulations of a stagnation-point flow combustor with a catalytic surface are performed. The combustible mixture of methane and air is blown on top of a platinum surface, forming a classical stagnation-point flow configuration. This geometry not only represents an on-chip microcombustor considered in recent studies, but it also serves as a canonical problem of combined heterogeneous/homogeneous combustion subjected to flow straining, which is a key parameter that governs the quenching and flammability limit. One-dimensional similarity formulation is derived with full consideration of detailed surface and gas-phase chemical kinetic models. Parametric studies are conducted to investigate the effects of strain rate, equivalence ratio, heat loss on the combustion, and extinction modes. The steady results showed that catalysis can largely extend the extinction limit, while suppressing the gas-phase reaction at lower strain rates. It was also found that the extension of the catalytic reaction quenching limit is sensitive to the mixture composition, suggesting the dominance of chemical aspects in catalytic combustion. The temperature versus strain rate response curves exhibit multiple branches of stable solutions, implying a possibility of hysteresis behavior in a coupled homogeneous-heterogeneous reactor. Extensive parametric studies in terms of the mixture equivalence ratio and the conductive heat loss parameter have revealed three distinct steady response regimes: a surface-dominant monotonic response, continuous two-branch response, and separated response showing an isolated surface-reaction island. The results are expected to provide insight into improving the overall combustion stability and efficiency of catalyst-assisted combustors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-400
Number of pages11
JournalCombustion and Flame
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Science Foundation Grant CTS-0134128 under the technical monitoring of Dr. Linda Blevins. The authors thank Dr. Ramanan Sankaran of Sandia National Laboratories for his contributions in the development of the numerical methods used in this study, and Professor Greg Jackson of University of Maryland for valuable comments.


  • Catalytic reaction
  • Extinction
  • Microcombustion
  • Stagnation-point flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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