In this 13-part series of articles, The Combustion Institute recognizes the 2021Distinguished Papers selected from among the scientific papers presented during the 38th International Symposium on Combustion. Congratulations to Hongtao Zhong, Xingqian Mao, Aric C. Rousso, Charles L. Patrick, Chao Yan, Wenbin Xu, Qi Chen, Gerard Wysocki, and Yiguang Ju for winning the DPA in the New Concepts colloquium. 

In their paper, Kinetic study of plasma-assisted n-dodecane/O2/Npyrolysis and oxidation in a nanosecond-pulsed discharge, Zhong, Mao, Rousso, Patrick, Yan, Xu, Chen, Wysocki, and Ju provide transient and steady-state speciation data and an experimentally-validated kinetic mechanism for plasma-assisted pyrolysis and oxidation for the large jet fuel component. Plasma-assisted combustion is a promising emerging combustion technology. It is shown to improve engine performance by reducing pollutant emissions, increasing flame stabilization, enabling lean burn, and facilitating cool flames and low temperature non-equilibrium chemical synthesis. Non-equilibrium plasma discharges provide new kinetic pathways and high reaction rates for pyrolysis and oxidation at low temperature. However, such reaction pathways and elementary reaction rates are not well understood for large alkanes, which motivated this research. 

The research team developed an experimentally validated kinetic model for plasma-assisted n-dodecane oxidation, and demonstrated the importance of electronically excited species and NO reduction in plasma-assisted, low-temperature fuel oxidation by using a nanosecond plasma reactor with in situ laser diagnostics using a Herriot cell. The model will enable the computational design of plasma ignitor of lean burn gas turbine and international combustion engines. In addition, it allows predictive modeling of low-temperature chemical fuel reforming. The results also provide insights to control NOx emissions in advanced engines and ammonia combustion. 

The research largely took place at Prof. Yiguang Ju’s combustion laboratory in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University.  

Over 1,700 papers were submitted to the 38th International Symposium on Combustion. All papers were categorized into one of 13 colloquia, and then distributed to colloquium coordinators and co-chairs. Each paper was reviewed by at least three qualified individuals from a pool of over 1,000 peer scientific reviewers. Less than 50 percent of the papers submitted are accepted for presentation.  

Following the symposium, one paper presented in each colloquium is awarded the distinction of Distinguished Paper. Visit here  to view the presentation. The 13 Distinguished Papers undergo committee review for consideration for the Silver Combustion Medal. A paper selected for this honor exemplifies quality, achievement, and significance to advance a field of combustion science, and will be awarded during the 39th International Symposium in Vancouver, Canada.