Experimental validation of local thermal equilibrium in a MW plasma torch for hydrogen production

Babajide Ogungbesan, Rajneesh Kumar, Liu Su, Mohamed Sassi

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In this paper, experimental and numerical studies are made to investigate local thermal equilibrium in a microwave plasma torch at atmospheric pressure for hydrogen and carbon black production from methane dissociation. The microwave induced plasma can be operated up to 2 kW power at 2.45 GHz frequency. Methane is dissociated in argon, air or nitrogen plasma and optical emission spectroscopy is used to characterize the plasma. C2, CN and OH ro-vibrational bands are used for rotational and vibrational temperature estimation while stark broadening of H-line is used for electron temperature calculation. Temperatures are determined at varying operating parameters of microwave power, axial gas flow rate, and methane flow rate. The rotational (heavy particle), vibrational, and electron temperatures are found to be equal to 5000 ± 500 K. The plasma is thus at local thermodynamic equilibrium.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)15210-15218
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number35
StatePublished - 22 Nov 2013


  • Atmospheric pressure microwave plasma
  • Local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE)
  • Methane dissociation
  • Optical emission spectroscopy


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