methane, ethane, combustion, ignition delay, shock-tube


The combustion behavior of methane and ethane is important to the study of natural gas and other alternative fuels that are comprised primarily of these two basic hydrocarbons. Understanding the transition from methane-dominated ignition kinetics to ethane-dominated kinetics for increasing levels of ethane is also of fundamental interest toward the understanding of hydrocarbon chemical kinetics. Much research has been conducted on the two fuels individually, but experimental data of the combustion of blends of methane and ethane is limited to ratios that recreate typical natural gas compositions (up to ~20% ethane molar concentration). The goal of this study was to provide a comprehensive data set of ignition delay times of the combustion of blends of methane and ethane at near atmospheric pressure. A group of ten diluted CH4/C2H6/O2/Ar mixtures of varying concentrations, fuel blend ratios, and equivalence ratios (0.5 and 1.0) were studied over the temperature range 1223 to 2248 K and over the pressure range 0.65 to 1.42 atm using a new shock tube at the University of Central Florida Gas Dynamics Laboratory. Mixtures were diluted with either 75 or 98% argon by volume. The fuel blend ratio was varied between 100% CH4 and 100% C2H6. Reaction progress was monitored by observing chemiluminescence emission from CH* at 431 nm and the pressure. Experimental data were compared against three detailed chemical kinetics mechanisms. Model predictions of CH* emission profiles and derived ignition delay times were plotted against the experimental data. The models agree well with the experimental data for mixtures with low levels of ethane, up to 25% molar concentration, but show increasing error as the relative ethane fuel concentration increases. The predictions of the separate models also diverge from each other with increasing relative ethane fuel concentration. Therefore, the data set obtained from the present work provides valuable information for the future improvement of chemical kinetics models for ethane combustion.


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Graduation Date





Petersen, Eric


Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering (M.S.A.E.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Program

Aerospace Engineering








Release Date

December 2007

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)