Date of Award

Fall 1996

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and Environmental Science

First Advisor

Robert Benedict Barat

Second Advisor

Dana E. Knox

Third Advisor

S. Mitra

Abstract

This thesis presents experimental and modeling results from the combustion of ethylene and air in a two stage turbulent flow reactor. This work is motivated by the continuing concern over combustion by-products. The first half of the research effort focused on the validation of the reactor as a perfectly stirred reactor and a plug flow reactor (PSR+PFR) sequence. Using four detailed reaction mechanisms, measured concentrations of carbon oxides, oxygen, and light hydrocarbon concentrations were modeled. Within the accuracy of the data, the mechanism of Mao (1995) yielded the best results. However, it was observed that the success of the reactor validation effort is dependent on the chosen mechanism. The second half of this work focused on the fuel-rich combustion of ethylene and air using an on-line microtrap to concentrate the combustion samples. Although the microtrap demonstrated potential, its applicability at high fuel equivalence ratios was hindered by excessive hydrocarbon concentrations. However, benzene, a known precursor to larger and more toxic combustion by-products, was identified and quantified with the microtrap. The benzene data were qualitatively modeled using a mechanism developed by Zhong (1996). Light hydrocarbons and stable combustion species measured in packed columns were accurately modeled with the Mao mechanism.

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