Numerical Modelling of Soot Formation in Laminar Axisymmetric Ethylene-Air Coflow Flames at Atmospheric and Elevated Pressures

  • Ihsan Allah Rakha

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The steady coflow diffusion flame is a widely used configuration for studying combustion kinetics, flame dynamics, and pollutant formation. In the current work, a set of diluted ethylene-air coflow flames are simulated to study the formation, growth, and oxidation of soot, with a focus on the effects of pressure on soot yield. Firstly, we assess the ability of a high performance CFD solver, coupled with detailed transport and kinetic models, to reproduce experimental measurements, like the temperature field, the species’ concentrations and the soot volume fraction. Fully coupled conservation equations for mass, momentum, energy, and species mass fractions are solved using a low Mach number formulation. Detailed finite rate chemistry describing the formation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons up to cyclopenta[cd]pyrene is used. Soot is modeled using a moment method and the resulting moment transport equations are solved with a Lagrangian numerical scheme. Numerical and experimental results are compared for various pressures. Reasonable agreement is observed for the flame height, temperature, and the concentrations of various species. In each case, the peak soot volume fraction is predicted along the centerline as observed in the experiments. The predicted integrated soot mass at pressures ranging from 4-8 atm, scales as P2.1, in satisfactory agreement with the measured integrated soot pressure scaling (P2.27). Significant differences in the mole fractions of benzene and PAHs, and the predicted soot volume fractions are found, using two well-validated chemical kinetic mechanisms. At 4 atm, one mechanism over-predicts the peak soot volume fraction by a factor of 5, while the other under-predicts it by a factor of 5. A detailed analysis shows that the fuel tube wall temperature has an effect on flame stabilization.
Date of AwardMay 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Science and Engineering
SupervisorFabrizio Bisetti (Supervisor)


  • Soot Formation
  • Laminar Coflow Flames
  • Ethylene-Air Flames
  • Combustion

Cite this