Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics vol:9 issue:31 pages:4071-4084
This article aims to illustrate the added value provided to experimental kinetics investigations by complementary theoretical kinetics studies, using as examples (i) reactions of two major hydrocarbon flame radicals, HCCO and C2H, and (ii) reactions of several oxygenated organic compounds with hydroxyl radicals of interest to atmospheric chemistry. The first part, on HCCO and C2H kinetics, does not attempt to give an extensive literature review, but rather addresses some major experimental techniques, mainly specific ones, that have allowed a great part of the available reactivity databases on these two species to be established. For several key reactions, it is shown how potential energy surfaces and statistical rate predictions based thereon have provided insight into the molecular mechanisms and have allowed estimates of product distributions as well as reliable extrapolations of experimental rate coefficients and branching ratios to higher temperatures. The second part addresses current issues in atmospheric chemistry relating mainly to hydroxyl radical reactions with oxygenated organics, and focuses on the experimental characterization of the often unusual temperature dependence of their rate coefficients and on the theoretical rationalization thereof, through the formation of hydrogen-bonded pre-reactive complexes and resulting tunnelling-enhanced H-abstraction. Finally, the development of general structure-activity relationships for OH reactions with organics, H-abstractions as well as OH-additions for unsaturated compounds, is briefly discussed.