Nitrogen Chemistry

Our primary interest is in fuel-bound nitrogen, especially NO2-containing functional groups. One project is determining the fate of fuel-bound nitrogen below the thermal NOx limit. When alkyl-nitrates, such as 2-ethylhexyl-nitrate, are used as fuel additives in low-temperature compression-ignition engines, empirical evidence suggests that only a fraction of the fuel-bound nitrogen exits the cylinder as NOx. The other nitrogen-containing product species are not known. Our group is combining experimental, theoretical, and modeling methods to address this problem.

HONO and HNO2 In low-temperature combustion, much of the fuel-bound NO2 passes through either HONO or HNO2. There has been considerably uncertainty regarding the kinetics of these two species in combustion mechanisms. We have published a series of papers that look at their rates of formation, isomerization, decomposition, as well as the relative importance of the two species.

Vinylic radicals + NO Most alkyl radicals when they react with NO do not lead to significant nitrogen reduction. Vinylic radicals, in contast, can lead to various unsaturated CN compounds.

Propellants and energetic materials NO2 is commonly used as the oxidizer in many propellant formulations and in energetic materials. See the project web pages for more details.

This work is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research.