A comparison of saturated and unsaturated C4 fatty acid methyl esters in an opposed flow diffusion flame and a jet stirred reactor

Subram Sarathy, S. Gaïl, S. A. Syed, M. J. Thomson*, P. Dagaut

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


Biodiesel fuels, made up primarily of fatty acid methyl esters (FAME), are advantageous because they are renewable and generally have lower pollutant emissions. In order to study in detail the effect of the FAME molecular structure on the combustion chemistry, a saturated (i.e., methyl butanoate) and an unsaturated (i.e., methyl crotonate) C4 FAME were oxidized in an opposed flow diffusion flame and a jet stirred reactor. Some consistent trends were seen in both experiments. Both fuels have similar reactivity. The experimental results show that methyl crotonate combustion produces much higher levels of C2H2, 1-C3H4, 1-C 4H8, and 1,3-C4H6 than methyl butanoate. The methyl butanoate combustion had higher levels of C 2H4. In the opposed flow diffusion flames, the methyl crotonate also produced benzene while for methyl butanoate it was not detected. These species are relevant to soot formation. In addition, the experiments measured higher levels of 2-propenal, methanol, and acetaldehyde for methyl crotonate than for methyl butanoate. The reactions controlling these differences are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1015-1022
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
Volume31 I
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007
Event31st International Symposium on Combustion - Heidelberg, Germany
Duration: Aug 5 2006Aug 11 2006


  • Biodiesel
  • Jet stirred reactor
  • Methyl butanoate
  • Methyl crotonate
  • Opposed flow diffusion flame

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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