A mixture of n-dodecane and m-xylene is investigated as a diesel fuel surrogate for compression ignition engine applications. Compared to neat n-dodecane, this binary mixture is more representative of diesel fuel because it contains an alkyl-benzene which represents an important chemical class present in diesel fuels. A detailed multi-component mechanism for n-dodecane and m-xylene was developed by combining a previously developed n-dodecane mechanism with a recently developed mechanism for xylenes. The xylene mechanism is shown to reproduce experimental ignition data from a rapid compression machine and shock tube, speciation data from the jet stirred reactor and flame speed data. This combined mechanism was validated by comparing predictions from the model with experimental data for ignition in shock tubes and for reactivity in a flow reactor. The combined mechanism, consisting of 2885 species and 11754 reactions, was reduced to a skeletal mechanism consisting 163 species and 887 reactions for 3D diesel engine simulations. The mechanism reduction was performed using directed relation graph (DRG) with expert knowledge (DRG-X) and DRG-aided sensitivity analysis (DRGASA) at a fixed fuel composition of 77% of n-dodecane and 23% m-xylene by volume. The sample space for the reduction covered pressure of 1–80 bar, equivalence ratio of 0.5–2.0, and initial temperature of 700–1600 K for ignition. The skeletal mechanism was compared with the detailed mechanism for ignition and flow reactor predictions. Finally, the skeletal mechanism was validated against a spray flame dataset under diesel engine conditions documented on the Engine Combustion Network (ECN) website. These multi-dimensional simulations were performed using a Representative Interactive Flame (RIF) turbulent combustion model. Encouraging results were obtained compared to the experiments with regards to the predictions of ignition delay and lift-off length at different ambient temperatures.

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