Oxidation behavior of dodecane and two mixtures of dodecane and m-xylene (90/10 wt. % and 80/20 wt. %) over an Rh catalyst in a meso-scale heat recirculating combustor was examined to isolate the effect of aromatic content on performance. The fuel conversion, product speciation and reaction kinetics were calculated, and the global combustion behavior observed. The results showed that increasing the amount of m-xylene in the fuel increased the fuel conversion from 85% (pure dodecane) to 92% (90/10) and further to 98% (80/20). The presence of xylene also significantly increased CO2/H2O selectivity and de-creased CO/H2 selectivity. Global activation energy increased linearly with increase in xylene content, supporting that addition of aromatic species to fuel lowers the overall reactivity. The non-catalytic reaction was also simulated using Chemkin software to determine the effect of the Rh catalyst on the combustor performance. The results revealed that the catalyst promotes total oxidation over partial oxidation, and lowers the global activation energy by up to 70%.

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