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Pressure-Dependent Kinetics of Peroxy Radicals Formed in Isobutanol Combustion

submitted on 28.05.2020 and posted on 29.05.2020 by Mark Goldman, Jesse Kroll, William H. Green
Bio-derived isobutanol has been approved as a gasoline additive in the U.S., but our understanding of its combustion chemistry still has significant uncertainties. Detailed quantum calculations could improve model accuracy leading to better estimation of isobutanol’s combustion properties and its environmental impacts. This work examines 47 molecules and 38 reactions involved in the first oxygen addition to isobutanol’s three alkyl radicals located α, β, and γ to the hydroxide. Quantum calculations were mostly done at CCSD(T)-F12/cc-pVTZ-F12//B3LYP/CBSB7, with 1-D hindered rotor corrections obtained at B3LYP/6-31G(d). The resulting potential energy surfaces are the most comprehensive isobutanol peroxy networks published to date. Canonical transition state theory and a 1-D microcanonical master equation are used to derive high-pressure-limit and pressure-dependent rate coefficients, respectively. At all conditions studied, the recombination of α- isobutanol radical with O2 forms HO2 and isobutanal. The recombination of γ-isobutanol radical with O2 forms a stabilized hydroperoxy alkyl radical below 400 K, water and an alkoxy radical at higher temperatures, and HO2 and an alkene above 1200 K. The recombination of β-isobutanol radical with O2 results in a mixture of products between 700-1100 K, forming acetone, formaldehyde and OH at lower temperatures and forming HO2 and alkenes at higher temperatures. The barrier heights, high-pressure-limit rates, and pressure-dependent kinetics generally agree with the results from previous quantum chemistry calculations. Six reaction rates in this work deviate by over three orders of magnitude from kinetics in detailed models of isobutanol combustion, suggesting the rates calculated here can help improve modeling of isobutanol combustion and its environmental fate.


Email Address of Submitting Author


Massachusetts Institute of Technology


United States of America

ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

This fundamental research was funded by grants to MIT from the NSF and from BP. We note that BP is a part owner of BUTAMAX, a company commercializing the biofuel isobutanol. The authors declare that they have no financial interest in isobutanol commercialization and no conflict of interest.