One method frequently used to reduce NOx emissions is exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), where a portion of the exhaust gases, including NOx, is reintroduced into the combustion chamber. While a significant amount of research has been performed to understand the important fuel/NOx chemistry, more work is still necessary to improve the current understanding on this chemistry and to refine detailed kinetics models. To validate models beyond global kinetics data such as ignition delay time or flame speed, the formation of H2O was recorded using a laser absorption diagnostic during the oxidation of a mixture representing a simplistic natural gas (90% CH4 /10% C2H6 (mol.)). This mixture was studied at a fuel lean condition (equiv. ratio = 0.5) and at atmospheric pressure. Unlike in conventional fuel-air experiments, NO2 was used as the oxidant to better elucidate the important, fundamental chemical kinetics by exaggerating the interaction between NOx and hydrocarbon-based species. Results showed a peculiar water formation profile, compared to a former study performed in similar conditions with O2 as oxidant. In the presence of NO2, the formation of water occurs almost immediately before it reaches more or less rapidly (depending on the temperature) a plateau. Modern, detailed kinetics models predict the data with fair to good accuracy overall, while the GRI 3.0 mechanism is proven inadequate for reproducing CH4 / C2H6 and NO2 interactions.

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