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16 Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Combustion

Part 2. Combustion Diagnostics and Pollutants

  1. John Fetzer

Published Online: 15 JUL 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9783527628148.hoc036

Handbook of Combustion

Handbook of Combustion

How to Cite

Fetzer, J. 2010. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Combustion. Handbook of Combustion. 2:16:425–438.

Author Information

  1. Fetzpahs Consulting, Pinole, CA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2010


The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are ubiquitous in any incomplete combustion; that is, one that does not generate only water and carbon dioxide. A huge variety of PAHs can be produced in combustion; the unsubstituted forms differ in ring number, ring isomerization, degree of condensation, and whether there are only six-member carbon rings or some with five carbons. Substitution can be as simple as alkylation limited only to methylation. Various conditions can produce hydroxyl, carboxyl, and nitro substitutions. This chapter will mainly focus on the unsubstituted PAHs, as they are the prevalent type found in combustion products. This variety depends on combustion conditions such as the fuel and its concentration, residence time, and combustion temperature. Numerous reactions are involved that involve a multitude of production pathways, and to understand this complexity modern analytical tools must be used. Such tools include gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography with UV spectral detection, and are used to differentiate and identify specific PAHs. How these techniques work, and what types of information they provide, will be highlighted.


  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons;
  • isomers;
  • liquid chromatography;
  • UV-visible spectroscopy;
  • fluorescence