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Scientists have deciphered the chemical reaction mechanism critical for cleaner combustion

May 21, 2018

The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, where original works in the field of chemistry and physics are published, has printed an article by an international team of scientists describing a discovery of the mechanism for the formation of the simplest polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), naphthalene. The mechanism depicted by the scientists will help in creating physically based combustion models required for the development of fundamentally new ecologically friendly combustion chambers for gas turbine engines.

In Samara University, the research continues within the mega-grant allocated by the government of the Russian Federation. The works are conducted under the leadership of Professor of Florida International University Alexander Mebel. A scientific publication "VUV Photoionization Study of the Formation of the Simplest Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon: Naphthalene (C10H8)" of a group of scientists from Samara University, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Florida International University is an important link in the development of these studies.

"On the Earth polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are harmful substances, formed due to incomplete combustion of fuel. They are carcinogenic, lead to the formation of soot, which pollutes the environment and contributes to global warming, - says Alexander Mebel. - At the same time in the interstellar space, PAHs are precursors of biochemical molecules and an important factor in the chemical evolution in the Universe. For these reasons, a detailed understanding of PAH formation and growth mechanisms is important, both for the development of environmentally friendly combustion technologies, and for answering the eternal question of the origin of life. "

In the article published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, a chemical reaction is described for the formation of a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (naphthalene) from the phenyl and vinylacetylene at elevated temperatures corresponding to the conditions of flames or circumstellar envelopes.

The scientists from the Samara University - Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Professor Marsel Zagidullin and Chief Researcher of the Research and Education Centre for Physics of Open Nonequilibrium Systems (REC PhNOS-73), Professor Valeriy Azyazov calculated this chemical reaction using theoretical modeling. Their colleagues - chemists from Florida International University, University of Hawaii at Manoa and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, confirmed the results of the theoretical calculations in the laboratory experiment in a vacuum chamber with a microreactor.

"This work allowed us to understand the details of the synthesis of the simplest PAH prototyps and to develop a physically based and quantitatively accurate model of this process," - concluded Alexander Mebel.

For reference:

In Samara University within the mega-grant allocated by the government of the Russian Federation, an experimental setup is being created to study combustion reactions. Only three such installations currently exist in the world - in the USA (in Berkeley and in Hawaii) and in China (Hefei). The task of the laboratory staff of Samara University under the leadership of Alexander Mebel is to develop physically based combustion models by obtaining new data on chemical combustion processes and flames characteristics.

The project is aimed at solving the important problem - prevention of environmental pollution. International standards for harmful emissions are constantly tightened and new ecologically clean combustion technologies are necessary to ensure the competitiveness of Russian producers.

It is necessary to minimize the formation of soot, carcinogenic substances at the design stage of internal combustion engines, diesel, gas turbines, aircraft and rocket engines. And in order to minimize them, it is necessary to understand how they are formed. To this end, within the work on the mega-grant, appropriate fundamental mechanisms are investigated.

Samara Univercity

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