A shock tube (ST) with online, time-of-flight mass spectrometric (TOF-MS) detection has been constructed for the study of elementary reactions at high temperature. The ST and TOF-MS are coupled by a differentially pumped molecular beam sampling interface, which ensures that the samples entering the TOF-MS are not contaminated by gases drawn from the cold end wall thermal boundary layer in the ST. Additionally, the interface allows a large range of postshock pressures to be used in the shock tube while maintaining high vacuum in the TOF-MS. The apparatus and the details of the sampling system are described along with an analysis in which cooling of the sampled gases and minimization of thermal boundary layer effects are discussed. The accuracy of kinetic measurements made with the apparatus has been tested by investigating the thermal unimolecular dissociation of cyclohexene to ethylene and 1,3-butadiene, a well characterized reaction for which considerable literature data that are in good agreement exist. The experiments were performed at nominal reflected shock wave pressures of 600 and 1300 Torr, and temperatures ranging from 1260 to 1430 K. The rate coefficients obtained are compared with the earlier shock tube studies and are found to be in very good agreement. As expected no significant difference is observed in the rate constant between pressures of 600 and 1300 Torr.
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