The influence of hydrogen addition to the fuel on soot formation in an ethylene/oxygen/nitrogen diffusion flame was numerically studied by simulation of three counterflow laminar diffusion flames at atmosphere pressure. The fuel mixtures for the three flames are pure ethylene, ethylene/hydrogen and ethylene/helium, respectively, while the oxidant is a mixture of oxygen and nitrogen. A detailed gas phase reaction mechanism including species up to benzene and complex thermal and transport properties were used. The soot inception and surface growth rates were, respectively, calculated based on benzene and HACA (H-abstraction and C2H2-addition) mechanisms. The predicted results for the three flames were compared and analyzed. It is indicated that although the addition of either hydrogen or helium to the fuel can reduce the soot volume fraction, the addition of hydrogen is more efficient. While the addition of helium reduces soot formation only through dilution, the addition of hydrogen suppresses soot formation through both dilution and chemical reaction effects. This conclusion is qualitatively consistent with available experiments. The simulations revel that the chemically inhibiting effect is caused by the decrease of hydrogen atom concentration in soot formation region, due to the displacement of the primary reaction zone, when hydrogen is added to the fuel.

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