Zel'dovich mechanism is a chemical mechanism that describes the oxidation of nitrogen and NOx formation, first proposed by the Russian scientists Yakov Borisovich Zel'dovich, David A. Frank-Kamenetskii and P. Ya. Sadovnikov in 1947. The reaction mechanisms read as
where and are the reaction rate constants in Arrhenius law. The overall global reaction is given by
The overall reaction rate is mostly governed by the first reaction (i.e., rate-determining reaction), since the second reaction is much faster than the first reaction and occurs immediately following the first reaction. At fuel-rich conditions, due to lack of oxygen, reaction 2 becomes weak, hence, a third reaction is included in the mechanism, also known as extended Zel'dovich mechanism (with all three reactions),
The rate of NO concentration is given by
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