Abstract

The decomposition of ethane (C2H6) and the subsequent conversion to other hydrocarbons are investigated using a Q-switched (Q-SW) Nd:YAG laser induced plasma inside a controlled chamber. The metal targets, including iron, copper, nickel, and palladium, are employed to assist the plasma formation and ethane decomposition. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and gas chromatography are used for identifying and analyzing the products to determine dissociation rates as well. Several C1 and C2 components, namely, methane (CH4), ethylene (C2H4), and acetylene (C2H2), as well as heavier C3, C4, and C5 components, such as propane, butane, and pentane, are obtained after ethane decomposition. The yield, selectivity, and conversion ratios of hydrocarbons mainly depend on the metal species as the active catalysts during laser exposure. The most abundant component is found to be ethylene having a selectivity of 39% using a palladium target. This technique offers high reproducibility to generate selective and desired hydrocarbon compounds in the controlled chamber.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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