The effect of inert gases (Xe, Ar, Ne, He) on decomposition reactions of N2O, CH4 and CO2 at high pressures

Y. Slotboom*, S. R.A. Kersten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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In a pulsed compression reactor (PCR) experiments were done with N2O (4%mol), CH4 (1%mol) and CO2 (2%mol) diluted in the inert gases Xe, Ar, Ne and He. The mixtures were compressed up to 250 bar, reaching temperatures of up to 4000 K. At equal temperature, pressure and volume, significant differences (up to 20%) were measured in the conversion of the three species in different noble gases. The measurements with N2O decomposition showed that the reaction is the fastest in the most heavy noble gas tested. The conversion decreased as the molar mass of the noble gas decreased. Likewise, methane pyrolysis was measured to be the fastest in xenon and slowed down in accordance with the mass of the inert molecule. A reverse trend was measured for the decomposition of CO2 to CO and O⋅, which is explained by the dominant role of the reverse reaction. As a result, the CO2 data is also explained by conversion rates that are higher in heavier gases. This paper provides a first attempt to understand the observed influence of the molar mass of the inert bathing gas on the reaction rate in the high pressure domain. A theory is proposed based on a Newtonian description of reactant activation by the inert bathing gas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119554
JournalChemical engineering science
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2024


  • Compression
  • Gas phase
  • High pressure
  • Homogeneous
  • Kinetics
  • Noble gases
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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