Combust. Theory Model. 18, 148-184 (2014)

Kinetic parameters, collision rates, energy exchanges and transport coefficients of non-thermal electrons in premixed flames at sub-breakdown electric field strengths

F. Bisetti, M El Morsli, Kinetic parameters, collision rates, energy exchanges and transport coefficients of non-thermal electrons in premixed flames at sub-breakdown electric field strengths, Combust. Theory Model. 18, 148-184  (2014).
F Bisetti, M El Morsli
electric field, premixed flames, non-thermal plasma, electron collisions, electron mobility
The effects of an electric field on the collision rates, energy exchanges and transport properties of electrons in premixed flames are investigated via solutions to the Boltzmann kinetic equation. The case of high electric field strength, which results in high-energy, non-thermal electrons, is analysed in detail at sub-breakdown conditions. The rates of inelastic collisions and the energy exchange between electrons and neutrals in the reaction zone of the flame are characterised quantitatively. The analysis includes attachment, ionisation, impact dissociation, and vibrational and electronic excitation processes. Our results suggest that Townsend breakdown occurs for E/N = 140 Td. Vibrational excitation is the dominant process up to breakdown, despite important rates of electronic excitation of CO, CO2 and N2 as well as impact dissociation of O2 being apparent from 50 Td onwards. Ohmic heating in the reaction zone is found to be negligible (less than 2% of peak heat release rate) up to breakdown field strengths for realistic electron densities equal to 1010 cm−3. The observed trends are largely independent of equivalence ratio. In the non-thermal regime, electron transport coefficients are insensitive to mixture composition and approximately constant across the flame, but are highly dependent on the electric field strength. In the thermal limit, kinetic parameters and transport coefficients vary substantially across the flame due to the spatially inhomogeneous concentration of water vapour. A practical approach for identifying the plasma regime (thermal versus non-thermal) in studies of electric field effects on flames is proposed.