Methyl formate oxidation: Speciation data, laminar burning velocities, ignition delay times, and a validated chemical kinetic model



The oxidation of methyl formate (CH3OCHO) has been studied in three experimental environments over a range of applied combustion relevant conditions:

  • 1.A variable-pressure flow reactor has been used to quantify reactant, major intermediate and product species as a function of residence time at 3 atm and 0.5% fuel concentration for oxygen/fuel stoichiometries of 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5 at 900 K, and for pyrolysis at 975 K.
  • 2.Shock tube ignition delays have been determined for CH3OCHO/O2/Ar mixtures at pressures of ≈ 2.7, 5.4, and 9.2 atm and temperatures of 1275–1935 K for mixture compositions of 0.5% fuel (at equivalence ratios of 1.0, 2.0, and 0.5) and 2.5% fuel (at an equivalence ratio of 1.0).
  • 3.Laminar burning velocities of outwardly propagating spherical CH3OCHO/air flames have been determined for stoichiometries ranging from 0.8–1.6, at atmospheric pressure using a pressure-release-type high-pressure chamber.

A detailed chemical kinetic model has been constructed, validated against, and used to interpret these experimental data. The kinetic model shows that methyl formate oxidation proceeds through concerted elimination reactions, principally forming methanol and carbon monoxide as well as through bimolecular hydrogen abstraction reactions. The relative importance of elimination versus abstraction was found to depend on the particular environment. In general, methyl formate is consumed exclusively through molecular decomposition in shock tube environments, while at flow reactor and freely propagating premixed flame conditions, there is significant competition between hydrogen abstraction and concerted elimination channels. It is suspected that in diffusion flame configurations the elimination channels contribute more significantly than in premixed environments. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Chem Kinet 42: 527–549, 2010