Simplification of chemical kinetics description through dimensional reduction is particularly important to achieve an accurate numerical treatment of complex reacting systems, especially when stiff kinetics are considered and a comprehensive picture of the evolving system is required. To this aim several tools have been proposed in the past decades, such as sensitivity analysis, lumping approaches, and exploitation of time scales separation. In addition, there are methods based on the existence of the so-called slow manifolds, which are hyper-surfaces of lower dimension than the one of the whole phase-space and in whose neighborhood the slow evolution occurs after an initial fast transient. On the other hand, all tools contain to some extent a degree of subjectivity which seems to be irremovable. With reference to macroscopic and spatially homogeneous reacting systems under isothermal conditions, in this work we shall adopt a phenomenological approach to let self-emerge
the dimensional reduction from the mathematical structure of the evolution law. By transforming the original system of polynomial differential equations, which describes the chemical evolution, into a universal quadratic format, and making a direct inspection of the high-order time-derivatives of the new dynamic variables, we then formulate a conjecture which leads to the concept of an “attractiveness” region in the phase-space where a well-defined state-dependent rate function ω has the simple evolution = −ω2
along any trajectory up to the stationary state. This constitutes, by itself, a drastic dimensional reduction from a system of N
-dimensional equations (being N
the number of chemical species) to a one-dimensional and universal evolution law for such a characteristic rate. Step-by-step numerical inspections on model kinetic schemes are presented. In the companion paper [P. Nicolini and D. Frezzato, J. Chem. Phys. 138, 234102 (2013)]10.1063/1.4809593
this outcome will be naturally related to the appearance (and hence, to the definition) of the slow manifolds.