Molecular dynamics simulations of laser-induced incandescence of soot using an extended ReaxFF reactive force field

J Phys Chem A. 2010 Dec 9;114(48):12561-72. doi: 10.1021/jp1080302. Epub 2010 Nov 10.

Abstract

Laser-induced incandescence (LII) of soot has developed into a popular method for making in situ measurements of soot volume fraction and primary particle sizes. However, there is still a lack of understanding regarding the generation and interpretation of the cooling signals. To model heat transfer from the heated soot particles to the surrounding gas, knowledge of the collision-based cooling as well as reactive events, including oxidation (exothermic) and evaporation (endothermic) is essential. We have simulated LII of soot using the ReaxFF reactive force field for hydrocarbon combustion. Soot was modeled as a stack of four graphene sheets linked together using sp(3) hybridized carbon atoms. To calculate the thermal accommodation coefficient of various gases with soot, graphene sheets of diameter 40 Å were used to create a soot particle containing 2691 atoms, and these simulations were carried out using the ReaxFF version incorporated into the Amsterdam Density Functional program. The reactive force field enables us to simulate the effects of conduction, evaporation, and oxidation of the soot particle on the cooling signal. Simulations were carried out for both reactive and nonreactive gas species at various pressures, and the subsequent cooling signals of soot were compared and analyzed. To correctly model N(2)-soot interactions, optimization of N-N and N-C-H force field parameters against DFT and experimental values was performed and is described in this paper. Subsequently, simulations were performed in order to find the thermal accommodation coefficients of soot with various monatomic and polyatomic gas molecules like He, Ne, Ar, N(2), CO(2), and CH(4). For all these species we find good agreement between our ReaxFF results and previously published accommodation coefficients. We thus believe that Molecular Dynamics using the ReaxFF reactive force field is a promising approach to simulate the physical and chemical aspects of soot LII.