The growth of PAHs and soot in the post-flame region

Peng Liu, Zepeng Li, William L. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The PAHs-CH pathway (PAHs + CH → intermediate → product + H) has been shown, in theory, to be the important contributor to the growth of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and soot in the post-flame region where H atoms are rare. Calculations of the potential energy surface (PES) using the DFT B3LYP 6-311 + G(d,p) method, and the reaction rate coefficients using the RRKM theory, reveal that armchair and bridge surface sites share similar kinetic characteristics, and are more likely to be the targets of CH molecules in flames compared to zig-zag and 5-membered ring surface sites. Results show that the energy barrier of a 2-H elimination reaction (14-23.8 kcal/mol) is much lower than that of a 1-H elimination (typically 30-40 kcal/mol) for some molecules. The formation of pyrene from phenanthrene via HACA (PAHs + H → PAHs radical (+ CH) → intermediate → product + H) and PAHs-CH pathways is investigated using a closed homogeneous zero-dimensional reactor with combustion parameters abstracted from the premixed stagnation CH/O/Ar sooting flame. Results show that the HACA pathway is the dominant pathway for the formation of PAHs and soot surface growth in the main-flame region where H atoms are abundant, but that the PAHs-CH pathway is the preferred pathway in the post-flame region. Our study also suggests that the soot nucleation involving a chemical coalescence of moderate-sized PAHs into a crosslinked three-dimensional structure via the addition reactions of PAHs and PAH radicals in the main-flame region should be considered for inclusion in any soot modeling.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)977-984
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 15 2018

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-09-14
Acknowledgements: The research reported in this publication was supported by the Clean Combustion Research Center at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'The growth of PAHs and soot in the post-flame region'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this