The oxygen atom is a critical oxidizer of hydrocarbons in high temperature combustion. Combustion models need to predict the products of these reactions accurately.
Unlike other oxidizers, when O atoms react with hydrocarbons it is difficult to predict the products because of the effects of electron spin. New research that simultaneously measures multiple products of the O + propene reaction definitively assigns certain pathways as spin-allowed or spin-forbidden. In particular, time-resolved experiments on the reaction of oxygen atoms with propene, in which multiple reaction products are detected simultaneously, show that ~ 40% of the total products arise from “spin-forbidden” chemistry. The experiments provide critical data to test and improve cutting edge models of spin flip chemistry. These models will improve predictive simulation of combustion chemistry, which plays an increasing role in the rapid computer-based design of new, efficient combustion engines.
Check out the full article at: http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2012/CP/c2cp41200d