Abstract In shock tube experiments, the interaction between the reflected shock and boundary layer can induce shock bifurcation and weak ignition. The weak ignition can greatly affect the ignition delay time measurement in a shock tube experiment. In this work, two-dimensional simulations considering detailed chemistry and transport are conducted to investigate the shock bifurcation and non-uniform ignition behind a reflected shock. The objectives are to interpret the formation of shock bifurcation induced by the reflected shock and boundary layer interaction, and to investigate the weak ignition and its transition to strong ignition for both hydrogen and dimethyl ether. It is found that the non-uniform reflection of the incident shock at the end wall produces a wedge-shaped oblique shock foot at the wall. The wedge-shaped structure results in strong interactions between reflected shock and boundary layer, which induces the shock bifurcation. It is demonstrated that the local high temperature spots at the foot of the bifurcated shock is caused by viscous dissipation and pressure work. As the post-reflected shock temperature increases, the transition from weak ignition to strong ignition in a stoichiometric hydrogen/oxygen mixture is observed. The relative sensitivity of ignition delay time to the post-reflected shock temperature is introduced to characterize the appearance of weak ignition behind the reflected shock. Unlike in the hydrogen/oxygen mixture, weak ignition is not observed in the stoichiometric dimethyl-ether/oxygen mixture since it has relatively longer ignition delay time and smaller relative sensitivity.