Computational study of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons growth by vinylacetylene addition

Peng Liu, Yiran Zhang, Zepeng Li, Anthony Bennett, He Lin, Mani Sarathy, William L. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The growth of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) can proceed via multiple chemical mechanisms. The mechanism of naphthyl radical and vinylacetylene (CH) addition reaction has been systematically investigated in this computational study. A combination of DFT/B3LYP/6-311+G(d,p), CCSD/6-311+G(d,p) and CBS-QB3 methods were performed to calculate the potential energy surfaces. It revealed that the products, including phenanthrene, anthracene, a PAH with a five-membered ring structure, and PAH with a CH radical substitution, can be formed in A-1 (1-naphthyl)+CH and A-2 (2-naphthyl) +CH reaction networks. The reaction rate constants at 0.1-100 atm were evaluated by RRKM theory by solving the master equation in the temperature range of 800–2500 K, which showed that the rate constants of reactions A-1 (A-2)+CH→product+H are highly temperature-dependent but nearly pressure-independent. The distribution of products was investigated in a 0-D batch reactor, wherein the initial reactant concentrations were taken from experimental measurements. The results showed that adduct intermediates were the main products at low temperature (T < 1000 K), and the phenanthrene and PAH with CH radical substitution became the dominant products at temperatures where PAHs and soot form in flames (T > 1000 K). It was observed that a significant amount of phenanthrene is formed from PAH with a CH radical substitution with the assistance of H atom. Reaction pathway sensitivity analysis for the PAH radical+CH reaction system was performed and showed that the new benzene rings are more likely to be generated near the zig-zag edge surface site instead of the free edge. For the development of a PAH mechanism, the analogous treatment of rate constants for larger PAH radical + CH reaction system are discussed. The formation rate of naphthalene from the reaction of phenyl+CH was found to be very close to that of phenanthrene from the reaction of naphthyl+CH, suggesting that the analogous treatment of the rates is reasonable in PAH mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-291
Number of pages16
JournalCombustion and Flame
StatePublished - Jan 31 2019


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