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Kinetic study of wood chips decomposition by TGA

Lukáš Gašparovič, Zuzana Koreňová, and Ľudovít Jelemenský

Institute of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Chemical and Food Technology, Slovak University of Technology, Radlinského 9, 812 37 Bratislava, Slovak Republic



Received: 16 June 2009  Revised: 11 September 2009  Accepted: 29 September 2009

Abstract: Pyrolysis of a wood chips mixture and main wood compounds such as hemicellulose, cellulose and lignin was investigated by thermogravimetry. The investigation was carried out in inert nitrogen atmosphere with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 900°C for four heating rates: 2 K min−1, 5 K min−1, 10 K min−1, and 15 K min−1. Hemicellulose, cellulose, and lignin were used as the main compounds of biomass. TGA and DTG temperature dependencies were evaluated. Decomposition processes proceed in three main stages: water evaporation, and active and passive pyrolysis. The decomposition of hemicellulose and cellulose takes place in the temperature range of 200–380°C and 250–380°C, while lignin decomposition seems to be ranging from 180°C up to 900°C. The isoconversional method was used to determine kinetic parameters such as activation energy and pre-exponential factor mainly in the stage of active pyrolysis and partially in the passive stage. It was found that, at the end of the decomposition process, the value of activation energy decreases. Reaction order does not have a significant influence on the process because of the high value of the pre-exponential factor. Obtained kinetic parameters were used to calculate simulated decompositions at different heating rates. Experimental data compared with the simulation ones were in good accordance at all heating rates. From the pyrolysis of hemicellulose, cellulose, and lignin it is clear that the decomposition process of wood is dependent on the composition and concentration of the main compounds.

Keywords: pyrolysis - biomass - wood chips - TGA - isoconversional method

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-009-0109-4


Chemical Papers 64 (2) 174–181 (2010)

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