Numerical Investigation of Negative Temperature Coefficient Effects on Sooting Characteristics in a Laminar Co-flow Diffusion Flame

Han Wu, Zhen Hu, Xu Dong, Saifei Zhang, Zhikun Cao, Sheng Lun Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


It is a common sense that diesel engines produce worse soot emission than gasoline engines, even though gasoline direct injection also brings about terrible sooting tendency. However, reports showed that diesel emits less soot than gasoline in laminar diffusion flames, which implies that soot emission is a combined effect of multiple factors, such as the combustion mode, physical properties of the fuel, and also fuel chemistry. This work, thus, conducted numerical calculations in laminar co-flow diffusion flames of fuels with different negative temperature coefficient (NTC) behaviors in an order of n-heptane > iso-octane > toluene to solely evaluate the chemical effect, especially the role of low-temperature combustion on soot formation. 2-Dimensional simulations were carried out to obtain the soot distributions, and 0-dimensional simulations were performed to analyze the chemical kinetics of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) formation and low-temperature reaction sensitivities. The grids of the 2-D model converged at 80(r) × 196(z), and the boundary conditions of both models were set to eliminate the influence of physical factors as much as possible. The results showed that there were three main reactions associated to the formation of aromatic hydrocarbons A1 at the first-stage combustion in the n-heptane flame and the iso-octane flame, in which the reaction of C7H15 + O2 = C7H15O2 enhances the NTC behavior. The first two reaction pathways generated larger molecular hydrocarbons and were unfavorable by A1 formation and therefore inhabit the PAH formation, and 49.8% of C7H16 reacted through the large molecular pathways, while the percentage for C8H18, with weaker NTC behavior, was only 37%. Toluene with even weaker NTC behavior showed no low-temperature oxidation. Therefore, in a more general case, fuels with stronger NTC behavior smoke less, and this conclusion could be promising potential to reduce soot emission in future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15156-15167
Number of pages12
JournalACS Omega
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun 15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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