Characteristics of Butanol Isomers Oxidation in a Micro Flow Reactor

  • Muhamad Firdaus Bin Hamzah

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Ignition and combustion characteristics of n-butanol/air, 2-butanol.air and isobutanol/air mixtures at stoichiometric (ϕ = 1) and lean (ϕ = 0.5) conditions were investigated in a micro flow reactor with a controlled temperature profile from 323 K to 1313 K, under atmospheric pressure. Sole distinctive weak flame was observed for each mixture, with inlet fuel/air mixture velocity set low at 2 cm/s. One-dimensional computation with comprehensive chemistry and transport was conducted. At low mixture velocities, one-stage oxidation was confirmed from heat release rate profiles, which was broadly in agreement with the experimental results. The weak flame positions were congruent with literature describing reactivity of the butanol isomers. These weak flame responses were also found to mirror the trend in Anti-Knock Indexes of the butanol isomers. Flux and sensitivity analyses were performed to investigate the fuel oxidation pathways at low and high temperatures. Further computational investigations on oxidation of butanol isomers at higher pressure of 5 atm indicated two-stage oxidation through the heat release rate profiles. Low temperature chemistry is accentuated in the region near the first weak cool flame for oxidation under higher pressure, and its impact on key species – such as hydroxyl radical, hydrogen peroxide and carbon monoxide – were considered. Both experimental and computational findings demonstrate the advantage of employing the micro flow reactor in investigating oxidation processes in the temperature region of interest along the reactor channel. By varying physical conditions such as pressure, the micro flow reactor system is proven to be highly beneficial in elucidating oxidation behavior of butanol isomers in conditions in engines such as those that mirror HCCI operations.
Date of AwardMay 2017
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorMani Sarathy (Supervisor)


  • Butanols
  • Micro flow reactor
  • HCCI
  • Biofuel
  • Premixed
  • Oxidation

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