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Issue 43, 2008
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HCO formation in the thermal unimolecular decomposition of glyoxal: rotational and weak collision effects

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Abstract

The multi-channel thermal unimolecular decomposition of glyoxal was experimentally investigated in the temperature range 1106 K < T < 2320 K and at total densities of 1.7 × 10−6 mol cm−3 < ρ < 1.9 × 10−5 mol cm−3 by monitoring HCO (frequency modulation spectroscopy, FMS), (CHO)2 (UV absorption), and H atom (atom resonance absorption spectroscopy, H-ARAS) concentration–time profiles behind shock waves. With a branching fraction of 48% at T = 2300 K and ρ = 1.6 × 10−5 mol cm−3, the so-far-neglected, energetically unfavourable HCO-forming decomposition channel, (CHO)2→ 2HCO, was found to play a crucial role and in fact represents the major decomposition pathway at high temperatures and high total densities. A theoretical analysis of the experimental results in terms of Rice–Ramsperger–Kassel–Marcus theory (RRKM), the simplified statistical adiabatic channel model (SACM), and an energy-grained master equation (ME) was based on input parameters from ab initio calculations (G3 and MP2/6-311G(d,p)) and literature data on branching ratios from collision-free photolysis experiments. A consistent description of the temperature and density dependences was achieved, revealing that both rotational and weak collision effects are reflected in the measured branching ratios. Overall, a product channel switching occurs with the CH2O-forming channel, (CHO)2→ CH2O + CO, dominating at low temperatures/densities and the HCO-forming channel dominating at high temperatures/densities. Additionally, the so-called triple-whammy channel, (CHO)2→ 2CO + H2, significantly contributes to the total decomposition rate at intermediate temperatures/densities whereas the HCOH-forming pathway, (CHO)2→ HCOH + CO, is predicted to be the least important one. The temperature and pressure dependences of the different decomposition channels are parametrized in terms of two-dimensional Chebyshev polynomials.

Graphical abstract: HCO formation in the thermal unimolecular decomposition of glyoxal: rotational and weak collision effects

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
12 Jun 2008
Accepted
11 Aug 2008
First published
29 Sep 2008

Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2008,10, 6520-6533
Article type
Paper

HCO formation in the thermal unimolecular decomposition of glyoxal: rotational and weak collision effects

G. Friedrichs, M. Colberg, J. Dammeier, T. Bentz and M. Olzmann, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2008, 10, 6520
DOI: 10.1039/B809992H

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