A systematic study of soot formation along the centerlines of axisymmetric laminar diffusion flames of a large number of liquid hydrocarbons, hydrocarbon blends, and aviation turbine and diesel fuels was made. Measurements of the attenuation of a laser beam across the flame diameter were used to obtain the soot volume fraction, assuming Rayleigh extinction. Two sets of hydrocarbon blends were designed such that the molecular fuel composition varied considerably but the temperature fields in the flames were kept practically constant. Thus it was possible to separate the effects of molecular structure and the flame temperature on soot formation. It was quantitatively shown that the smoke point height is a lumped measure of fuel molecular constitution. The developed empirical relationship between soot volume fractions and fuel smoke point and hydrogen-to-carbon ratio was applied to five different combustor radiation data, and good agreement was obtained.

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