Water absorption spectroscopy has been successfully demonstrated as a sensitive and accurate means for in situ determination of temperature and H2O mole fraction in silica (SiO2) particle-forming flames. Frequency modulation of near-infrared emission from a semiconductor diode laser was used to obtain multiple line-shape profiles of H2O rovibrational (ν 1 + ν 3) transitions in the 7170–7185-cm-1 region. Temperature was determined by the relative peak height ratios, and χH2 O was determined by use of the line-shape profiles. Measurements were made in the multiphase regions of silane/hydrogen/oxygen/argon flames to verify the applicability of the diagnostic approach to combustion synthesis systems with high particle loadings. A range of equivalence ratios was studied (ϕ = 0.47–2.15). The results were compared with flames where no silane was present and with adiabatic equilibrium calculations. The spectroscopic results for temperature were in good agreement with thermocouple measurements, and the qualitative trends as a function of the equivalence ratio were in good agreement with the equilibrium predictions. The determinations for water mole fraction were in good agreement with theoretical predictions but were sensitive to the spectroscopic model parameters used to describe collisional broadening. Water absorption spectroscopy has substantial potential as a valuable and practical technology for both research and production combustion synthesis facilities.
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