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# Combustion

## Combustion reactions are one of the most

common and important classes of reactions
used in chemical processing due to the large
amounts of heat released by the reaction :

Heat

Fuel

O2

Flue Gas

The fuels are either coal, fuel oil, gaseous fuel (e.g.
natural gas) or liquefied petroleum gas. When
burned, the products are :

## C + O2 CO2 (complete combustion)

C + O2 CO (incomplete combustion)
H + O 2 H 2O
S + O2 SO2
N + O2 NO (only T 1800oC)

## The composition of the flue / stack gas are given

either on a wet basis or a dry basis, depending
on whether water is included

Moles

Wet Basis

Dry Basis

50 mole CO2

33.3% CO2

50% CO2

50 mole N2

33.3% N2

50% N2

50 mole H2O

33.3% H2O

0% H2O

## Air is the source of the oxygen for combustion and its

composition is simplified to 79% N2 and 21% O2.
Theoretical air (or theoretical oxygen)
Moles of air (or O2) needed for complete combustion of the fuel and does not
depend on how much is actually burned
Excess air (or excess oxygen)
Moles supplied beyond the theoretical requirements. It depends only on the
theoretical air (or O2) and the air (or O2) feed rate, and not on how much is
consumed in the reactor or whether combustion is complete or partial.

## % = (moles air or O2)fed - (moles air or O2)theo. x 100%

excess air
(moles air or O 2)theo.

Mass balance in
combustion
Change
of
mass
with
time
(kg/s)

= Mass inp
(kg/s)

- Mass
outpu(kg/s)

Combustion
Ethane (C2H6) is burned with 50% excess air. The
percentage conversion of the ethane is 90%; of the
ethane burned, 25% reacts to form CO and the
balance to form CO2. Calculate the composition of the
flue gas on a dry basis and the ratio of water to dry
flue gas.

Solution:
C2H6 + 7/2O2 2CO2 + 3H2O
C2H6 + 5/2O2 2CO + 3H2O

reaction
reaction

1
2

Solution:
C2H6 + 7/2O2 2CO2 + 3H2O
reaction (1)
C2H6 + 5/2O2 2CO + 3H2O
reaction (2)
50% excess
Process
air
Q mol O2
3.76Q mol N2
100 mol C2H6

q1 mol C2H6
q2 mol O2
q3 mol N2
q4 mol CO
q5 mol CO2
q6 mol H2O

## Basis : 100 mol ethane fed

Given: 50% excess air
0.5 = (moles O2)fed (moles O2)theo
(moles O2)theo

## C2H6 + 7/2O2 2CO2 + 3H2O

reaction (1)
C2H6 + 5/2O2 2CO + 3H2O
reaction (2)
50% excess
Process
air
Q mol O2
3.76Q mol N2
100 mol C2H6
(nO2)s = 100 mol C2H6

q1 mol C2H6
q2 mol O2
q3 mol N2
q4 mol CO
q5 mol CO2
q6 mol H2O

3.5 mol O2

1 mol C2H6
(moles O2)fed (moles O2)theo
= (moles O2)fed 350
0.5 =
(moles O2)theo
350
Moles O2 fed = 525 mol = Q
Moles N2 fed = 3.76(525) = 1974 mol

## C2H6 + 7/2O2 2CO2 + 3H2O

C 2 H6
C2H6 + 5/2O2 2CO + 3H2O
C 2 H6
50% excess
Process
air
525 mol O2
1974 mol N2
100 mol C2H6

reaction (2)
q1 mol C2H6
q2 mol O2
q3 mol N2
q4 mol CO
q5 mol CO2
q6 mol H2O

## Given: Percentage conversion of the ethane is 90%

moles C2H6 reacted
0.9 =
C2H6 fed
100

=

## moles C2H6 reacted = 90 mol

0.25 (90) = 22.5 mol C2H6 reacts to form CO = 2
90 22.5 = 67.5 mol C2H6 reacts to form CO2 = 1
1 = 67.5 mol
2 = 22.5 mol

25%

## C2H6 + 7/2O2 2CO2 + 3H2O

C2H6 + 5/2O2 2CO + 3H2O
50% excess
air
525 mol O2
1974 mol N2

Process

1 =67.5 mol
2 = 22.5 mol
q1 mol C2H6
q2 mol O2
q3 mol N2
q4 mol CO
q5 mol CO2
q6 mol H2O

## Table of amounts for all input and output component

Components

C 2H 6

O2

N2

CO

CO2

H 2O

Input (mol)

100

525

1974

3.5(67.
5)
2.5(22.
5)
q2=232
.5

0(67.
5)
0(22.
5)
q3=19
74

nerated/Consumed (+ i 1 mol)1(67.
5)
nerated/Consumed (+ i 2 mol)1(22.
5)
q1=10
Output (mol)

2(67. 3(67.
5)
5)
2(22.
3(22.
5)
5)
q4 = q5=1 q6=2
45
70
35
-

10
mol
50% excess
Total moles on a dry
Process C2H6
air
basis
232.5 mol
525 mol O2
=10 + 232.5 + 1974 +
O2
45 + 135
1974 mol N2
1974
mol
100 mol
= 2396 mol dry gas
N2
C2 H 6
45 onmol
Hence the flue gas composition
a dry basis is
CO
C2H6 = 10 / 2396 =135
0.00417
mol C2H6 / mol
mol
CO
O2 = 232.5 / 2396 =
0.0970
mol O2 / mol
2
270 mol
N2 = 1974 / 2396 = 0.824 mol N2 / mol
H2 O
CO = 45 / 2396 = 0.019 mol CO / mol
And

## CO2 = 135 / 2396 = 0.0563 mol CO2 / mol

Mole ratio of H2O to dry flue gas = 270 / 2396
= 0.113 mol H2O / mol