Modeling the propane combustion process within a micro-catalytic porous combustor by using the lattice Boltzmann method

  • X. B. Feng
  • H. J. XuEmail author


Understanding the micro-catalytic porous combustion mechanisms is vital importance in improving the energy conversion efficiency of a combustion process. However, the investigation on this issue is still challenging due to the complex multiple physicochemical and thermal coupled transport mechanisms occurring in this process. In this work, a coupled lattice Boltzmann model is developed for modeling propane catalytic combustion process within a micro-catalytic porous combustor, in which the coupled transport mechanisms including multi-component gases flow, mass and heat transfers, as well as the heterogeneous catalytic combustion reaction are fully considered. Then, a systematic analysis regarding operating conditions and pore structure parameters was performed to disclose the micro-catalytic porous combustion mechanisms and dominated factors in determining the conversion efficiency. Results show that the conversion efficiency of propane in the micro-catalytic porous combustor majorly depends on the equivalence ratio, gas temperature and support materials properties. With an increment of the equivalence ratio, the conversion efficiency was improved firstly and then reduced, and an optimal combustion performance can be achieved where the equivalence ratio is equal to the chemical equivalent value. As the gas temperature increases, the conversion efficiency rises tremendously. To achieve a desirable combustion performance, the high gas temperature (> 700 K) should be maintained. Moreover, the support materials change the heat transfer and heat loss of the combustor, and the support materials with a low thermal conductivity or thermal diffusivity can reduce the heat loss and therefore enhance the conversion efficiency.


Micro-catalytic combustion Multiple physicochemical Heat and mass transfer Conversion efficiency Lattice Boltzmann method 

List of symbols


Catalysts activity parameter


Gas molar volume fraction


Gas specific heat capacity (J kg−1 K−1)


Diffusion coefficient (m s−2)


Diameter of particles (mm)


Source term of concentration field


Source term of temperature field


Reaction heat of propane complete combustion


Gas pressure (Pa)


Gas constant


Mixed gas temperature (K)


Gas inlet temperature (K)


Average temperature distribution (K)


Time (s)


Velocity vector (m s−1)





Greek symbols


Density (kg m−3)


Equivalence ratio


Thermal conductivity (W m−1 K−1)




Reaction coefficient


Species (C3H8, O2, CO2, H2O)



This work was financially sponsored by the Initial Scientific Research Fund for Special Zone’s Talents (XJ18T06), the Key Research and Development Program of Shaanxi Province (Nos. 2018GY-06 and 2018ZDXM-GY-085) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51876118).


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Safety and Durability of ConcreteXijing UniversityXi’anPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Multiphase Flow in Power Engineering, School of Energy and Power EngineeringXi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.China-UK Low Carbon CollegeShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China

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