Experimental and theoretical study on the thermal decomposition of C3H6 (Propene)

Wei Chung Hung, Chieh Ying Tsai, Hiroyuki Matsui*, Niann-Shiah Wang, Akira Miyoshi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The mechanism of the thermal unimolecular decomposition of C3H6 (propene) is studied both theoretically and experimentally. The potential energy surfaces for possible reaction pathways are investigated by CBS-QB3 level of quantum chemical calculations, and RRKM/master-equation calculation is performed for the main channels. The time evolutions of H atoms are observed experimentally by using a highly sensitive detection technique (ARAS, detection limit ≈ 1011 atoms cm-3) behind reflected shock waves (0.5-1.0 ppm C3H6 diluted in Ar, 1450-1710 K at 2.0 atm). The objective of this study is to examine the main product channels by combining the experimental and theoretical investigations on the yield and the rates of H atom production. Present quantum chemical calculations identify reactions (1a-1d) as the candidates of product channels: C3H6 → aC3H5 (allyl radical) + H (1a), C3H6 → CH3 + C2H3 (vinyl radical) (1b), C3H6 → CH4 +:CCH2 (singlet vinyldene radical) (1c), and C3H6 → C3H4 (allene) + H2 (1d). The RRKM calculations reveal the branching fractions for (1a), (1b), and (1c) to be approximately 0.8, 0.2, and 0.01, respectively. Reaction (1d) and other product channels are negligible (< 0.1 %), and the pressure dependence of the branching fraction is small under the present experimental conditions. The experimental yield of H atoms (1.7-2.0) is consistent with the theoretical branching fractions considering the H-atom production from the rapid subsequent thermal decomposition of a C3H5 and C2H3. From the observed time profiles of H atoms, the rate of overall thermal decomposition of C3H6 can be evaluated as Ln(k1/s-1) = (38.05 ± 1.18) - (48.91 ± 1.85) × 103 K/T, which is in excellent agreement with the theoretical prediction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1229-1237
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number8
StatePublished - 26 Feb 2015

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