Is Soot Composed Predominantly of Carbon Clusters?

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Science  23 Mar 1990:
Vol. 247, Issue 4949, pp. 1468-1471
DOI: 10.1126/science.247.4949.1468


Soot generated from diesel fuel in a combustion tube is characterized by microanalysis, x-ray diffraction, chemical reactivity, and nuclear magnetic resonance to address the recent proposal of the significance of carbon clusters in soot. The data support a traditional model of soot as polynuclear aromatic compounds rather than as clusters of carbon atoms with minimal edge site density. The amounts of noncarbon atoms in the soot (hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur) are commensurate with the edge density of the crystallites (2 by 2 nanometers) inferred from diffraction. The chemistry of soot, in being reduced by potassium metal and alkylated by alkyl iodides, is that known for aromatic compounds and not that anticipated for materials such as graphite, with a small fraction of carbon atoms on edges.

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