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Pathways to Soot Oxidation: Reaction of OH with Phenanthrene Radicals

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journal contribution
posted on 18.09.2014, 00:00 by David E. Edwards, Dmitry Yu. Zubarev, William A. Lester, Michael Frenklach
Energetics and kinetics of the oxidation of possible soot surface sites by hydroxyl radicals were investigated theoretically. Energetics were calculated by employing density functional theory. Three candidate reactions were selected as suitable prototypes of soot oxidation by OH. The first two, OH + benzene and OH + benzene–phenol complex, did not produce pathways that lead to substantial CO expulsion. The third reaction, OH attack on the phenanthrene radical, had multiple pathways leading to CO elimination. The kinetics of the latter reaction system were determined by solving the master equations with the MultiWell suite of codes. The barrierless reaction rates of this system were computed using the VariFlex program. The computations were carried out over the ranges 1500–2500 K and 0.01–10 atm. At higher temperatures, above 2000 K, the oxidation of phenanthrene radicals by OH followed a chemically activated path. At temperatures lower than 2000 K, chemical activation was not sufficient to drive the reaction to products; reaction progress was impeded by intermediate adducts rapidly de-energizing before reaching products. In such cases, the reaction system was modeled by treating the accumulating adducts as distinct chemical species and computing their kinetics via thermal decomposition. The overall rate coefficient of phenanthrene radical oxidation by OH forming CO was found to be insensitive to pressure and temperature and is approximately 1 × 1014 cm3 mol–1 s–1. The oxidation of phenanthrene radicals by OH is shown to be controlled by two main processes: H atom migration/elimination and oxyradical decomposition. H atom migration and elimination made possible relatively rapid rearrangement of the aromatic edge to form oxyradicals with favorable decomposition rates. The reaction then continues down the fastest oxyradical pathways, eliminating CO.