Reaction Conversion for a Plasma-Based Steady-State Flow Process is Independent of Reactor Volume

Joseph R. Toth, Xiaozhou Shen, Daniel J. Lacks, R. Mohan Sankaran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electrical discharges in gases or plasmas allow dissociation and conversion of molecular precursors, such as methane, at relatively low temperature. In a steady-state reactor geometry, the reaction conversion has been suggested to be dependent on basic process parameters, such as residence time, which, in turn, is a function of reactor volume and gas flow rate, and power. Here, we show, through a combined experimental and modeling study, that, for a plasma-based steady-state reactor, conversion is dependent on gas flow rate and power, but essentially independent of volume. A critical part of the experiments was to confine the plasma volume so that the power and volume could be controlled separately, and a critical part of the modeling was to segment the reactor into a volume containing filamentary discharges and a volume containing an afterglow to capture the spatial heterogeneity of our dielectric barrier discharge. The resulting similarity law for the conversion is consistent with the idea of energy density for a plasma process, but shows how such a reaction scheme is distinct from other chemical approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6048-6056
Number of pages9
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 9 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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