Formation of nitrogen oxides from atmospheric electrodeless microwave plasmas in nitrogen-oxygen mixtures

Jungwun Lee, Hojoong Sun, Seong Kyun Im, Moon Soo Bak

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Electrodeless microwave plasmas were produced in nitrogen-oxygen mixtures at atmospheric pressure to investigate the formation of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the plasma. The oxygen content in the mixtures is varied in the range of 1%-3%, and the total flowrate is varied in the range of 25-45 slpm while the microwave power is fixed at 2 kW. The rotational and vibrational temperatures of the plasma are measured based on plasma optical emission spectroscopy, and the amount of NOx is measured using a NOx analyzer far downstream from the plasma. The temperatures at the plasma region reach ∼6700 K, and little difference is observed between the rotational and vibrational temperatures as a result of fast vibrational-translational relaxation. Moreover, these temperatures are found to be independent of the flowrate. As the flowrate decreases and the oxygen content in the mixture increases, the level of NOx is increased from 1612 ppm to 9380 ppm. For detailed investigation, plasma kinetic simulations considering trans-rotational, vibrational, and electron temperatures separately are developed and conducted for the plasma region. The level of NOx from the kinetic simulations is found to be considerably smaller than that measured. As the equilibrium mole fraction of NOx is the highest at a temperature of 3120 ± 100 K, with the variation attributable to the composition of species, significant production of NOx is expected to occur at the post-plasma region when the plasma stream is quenched by mixing with the surrounding flow.

Original languageEnglish
Article number083303
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Aug 28
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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