Computational Evaluation of Approximate Rayleigh-Debye-Gans/ Fractal-Aggregate Theory for the Absorption and Scattering Properties of Soot


A computational evaluation of an approximate theory for the optical properties of soot is described, emphasizing the small-angle (Guinier) regime. The approximate theory (denoted RDG-FA theory) is based on the Rayleigh-Debye-Gans scattering approximation while treating soot as mass-fractal aggregates of spherical primary particles that have constant diameters and refractive indices. The approximate theory was evaluated by more exact predictions from the solution of the volume integral equation formulation of the governing equations, using the method of moments, and based on the ICP algorithm of Iskander et al. (1989). Numerical simulations were used to construct statistically significant populations of soot aggregates having appropriate fractal properties and prescribed numbers of primary particles per aggregate. Optical properties considered included absorption, differential scattering, and total scattering cross sections for conditions typical of soot within flame environments at wavelengths in the visible and the infrared. Specific ranges of aggregate properties were as follows: primary particle optical size parameters up to 0.4, numbers of primary particles per aggregate up to 512, mean fractal dimensions of 1.75, mean fractal prefactors of 8.0, and refractive indices typical of soot. Over the range of the evaluation, ICP and RDG-FA predictions generally agreed within numerical uncertainties (ca. 10 percent) within the Guinier regime, complementing similar performance of RDG-FA theory in the power-law regime based on recent experiments. Thus, the use of approximate RDG-FA theory to estimate the optical properties of soot appears to be acceptable-”particularly in view of the significant uncertainties about soot optical properties due to current uncertainties about soot refractive indices.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Absorption; Radiation Scattering; Electromagnetic Scattering; Fractals; Soot; Particulate Matter; Computer Simulation; Dimensions; Cross Section (Physics); Algorithms

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 1994 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), All rights reserved.