Experimental and numerical study on soot formation and oxidation by using diesel fuel in constant volume chamber with various ambient oxygen concentrations

Xiaojie Bi, Haifeng Liu, Ming Huo, Cai Shen, Xinqi Qiao, Chia Fon F. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study on effects of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) on soot behavior is very important to reduce soot emissions and control the low temperature combustion process in diesel engines. In this work, high time-resolved quantitative soot measurements were experimented on a constant volume chamber by using European low-sulfur diesel fuel at three ambient oxygen concentrations (21%, 18%, 15%). Meanwhile, an improved semi-empirical soot model was coupled into computational fluid dynamics (KIVA-3V Release 2) code for in-depth understanding the soot formation and oxidation processes. Results demonstrated that numerical results of the improved semi-empirical soot model showed good agreement with experimental data in the whole processes of soot formation/oxidation and soot distribution under different oxygen concentrations. The mass concentration of acetylene, soot precursor species and soot mass initially increased with decreasing ambient oxygen concentrations from 21% to 15% and then began to decrease at 12% oxygen, while OH radicals reduced monotonically from 21% oxygen to 12%. At 12% oxygen, the concentrations of local rich sooty zone, acetylene and soot precursor species were as high as those under higher oxygen concentrations, but the total area of soot zone shrank remarkably at 12% oxygen. Compared to 21% ambient oxygen concentration, both soot formation and oxidation rates were increased under 18% oxygen, while the higher soot mass under 18% oxygen was the result of stronger soot formation mechanism. At 15% oxygen, both soot formation and oxidation rates were reduced and the maximum peak of soot mass concentration was caused by the suppressed oxidation mechanism. At 12% oxygen, reaction rates of soot formation and oxidation dropped to the very low level and the reduction in soot mass concentration and number density were achieved. Finally, it could be concluded that the retarded and reduced soot mass concentration at low ambient oxygen was the result of suppressed soot inception reaction from precursor species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-163
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Constant volume chamber
  • Diesel combustion
  • High time-resolved quantitative soot measurements
  • Semi-empirical soot model
  • Soot formation/oxidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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