Effect of soot model, moment method, and chemical kinetics on soot formation in a model aircraft combustor

Shao Teng Chong, Venkat Raman, Michael E. Mueller, Prabhu Selvaraj, Hong G. Im

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The simulation of turbulent sooting flames requires a host of models, of which the two critical components are the chemical kinetics that describe soot precursor evolution and the description of the soot population. The purpose of this study is to understand the sensitivity of soot predictions in a realistic aircraft combustor to model choices for these components. Two different chemistry mechanisms, three different statistical approaches, and two different soot inception models are considered. The simulations show that acetylene-based soot inception produces very high soot volume fraction, with the soot particles present predominantly in the inner recirculation zone of the swirl-stabilized combustor. The PAH-based nucleation models lead to soot generation in the shear layers emanating from fuel injection. The two advanced statistical approaches (Hybrid and Conditional Quadrature Method of Moments) also show significant differences. While the Hybrid method produces lower soot number density, it also generates larger soot particles due to a faster predicted rate of coagulation. The Conditional Quadrature approach produces much higher soot number density, but its particle sizes are smaller compared to the Hybrid method for all kinetic mechanisms considered. This experimental combustor is strongly dominated by surface growth based soot mass addition. As a result, even if nucleation/condensation rates are different, the final soot mass yield is comparable for PAH-based soot models. These results indicate the importance of not only the chemical mechanism, which may be less important in this surface growth dominated combustor, but also the soot statistical model, to which coagulation and the soot surface area are relatively sensitive.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1065-1074
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


  • Method of moments
  • Pressurized combustor
  • Soot chemistry


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