Reaction kinetics of OH radicals with 1,3,5-trimethyl benzene: An experimental and theoretical study

Dapeng Liu, Binod Giri, Tam V.-T. Mai, Lam K. Huynh, Aamir Farooq

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Alkylated aromatics are ubiquitous in transportation fuels. 1,3,5-Trimethyl benzene (135TMB) is a popular surrogate for the aromatic content of distillate fuels due to its symmetry (point group, C3h), which facilitates the construction of an accurate chemical kinetic model. The reaction of OH radicals with 135TMB plays a crucial role in the oxidation kinetics of 135TMB. In this work, the reaction kinetics of OH-initiated oxidation of 135TMB were investigated behind reflected shock waves over 975–1318 K and atmospheric pressure. The reaction was followed by monitoring OH radicals near 307 nm. The rate coefficients were extracted from detailed chemical kinetic modeling of OH concentration-time profiles. Our measured data clearly showed a positive temperature dependence, in contrast to the negative temperature dependence of the literature low-temperature data. At 1000 K, our measured rate coefficient is 1.3 × 10−11 cm3 molecule−1 s−1, which is roughly a factor of 5 lower than the room-temperature data reported in the literature. This observation reflects the complex nature of the OH + 135TMB reaction, similar to that observed for various aromatics + OH chemical systems. Our measurements did not show any discernible pressure dependence over the narrow pressure range of 870 – 1148 Torr. The title reaction has several possible channels in the reactive potential energy surface. The importance of each channel was characterized using ab initio/RRKM-ME calculations over T = 200–2000 K and P = 0.76 -7600 Torr. Our analyses revealed that addition channels and hydrogen abstraction from the methyl site have negative energy barriers. The reaction was found to undergo almost exclusively (∼93%) via the addition channel under ambient conditions. However, beyond 600 K, the abstraction channels take the lead, yielding the positive T-dependence of the overall rate coefficient. Although addition channels display a sharp fall-off behavior beyond 500 K, the general rate coefficients are pressure-independent. The title reaction shows a complex kinetic behavior due to competing channels whose contribution changes significantly with temperature. Our theoretical calculations nicely reproduced the complex T-dependence of the reaction. After adjusting the barrier height, our theory remarkably captured the positive T-dependence of our high-T kinetic data and the negative T-dependence of the low-T literature data. To our knowledge, this is the first detailed study on the reaction kinetics of 135TMB with OH radicals. The reported rate data will be helpful for the combustion modeling of alkylated aromatic species.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
StatePublished - Sep 8 2022

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-09-12
Acknowledgements: The research reported in this publication was funded by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). This work received financial support from Vietnam National Foundation for Science and Technology Development (NAFOSTED) under grant number 104.06–2020.45.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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