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Thermogravimetric Study of Dehydration and Thermal Degradation of Gypsum Board at Elevated Temperatures

Janssens, M.L., 2011. Thermogravimetric Study of Dehydration and Thermal Degradation of Gypsum Board at Elevated Temperatures. Fire Safety Science 10: 295-306. 10.3801/IAFSS.FSS.10-295


Over the past few years a growing number of investigators have used parameter estimation techniques based on genetic algorithms to determine material properties for pyrolysis modeling from small-scale test data. Southwest Research Institute is exploring the use of these techniques to determine material properties needed for computer modeling to predict the behavior of structures in a fire. This paper focuses on the kinetic parameters that are needed to predict dehydration and thermal degradation of gypsum board using a set of Arrhenius equations. Specimens of a type C board were tested in a TGA apparatus in nitrogen at four heating rates; 5, 10, 20 and 60 °C/min. A more conventional approach was used instead of a genetic algorithm to determine the parameters from the TGA data. This approach is implemented on a spreadsheet and is much easier to use than optimization techniques based on genetic algorithms. In many cases it may provide a good, albeit less versatile, alternative. Initially, reactions that occur in temperature ranges that overlap were lumped into a single reaction. At the end of the paper an attempt is made to separate overlapping reactions and estimate the kinetic parameters for each of the overlapping reactions separately.

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