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Effect of Particle Size on Pyrolysis Kinetics of Forest Fuels in Nitrogen

Niu H. and Liu, N., 2014. Effect of Particle Size on Pyrolysis Kinetics of Forest Fuels in Nitrogen. Fire Safety Science 11: 1393-1405. 10.3801/IAFSS.FSS.11-1393


Pyrolysis of forest combustibles is an elementary process in the ignition and spread of forest fires, and particle size is an important parameter which affects the pyrolysis kinetics. In this work, samples of pine needle (PN), pine branch (PBr) and pine bark (PB) were subject to thermogravimetric experiments, in order to examine the effect of particle size on pyrolysis characteristics. For all the samples, one peak and two shoulders are observed in all of the mass loss curves, at different positions for different levels of particle size. The observation of the mass loss curves and the analysis of peak temperatures by Kissinger method indicated that the major mass loss steps in different heating rates have consistent pyrolysis kinetics. For all the samples, the particle size has no obvious effect on the temperatures of the major peaks. Basically, the peak mass loss rate increases with increasing particle size for smaller particles, however the increased temperature gradient inside the sample may have a remarkable suppression on the mass loss rate when the particle size exceeds a certain level. The mass loss rates for the two shoulders show complex variations for different samples and particle sizes, which reflects the difference in chemical components. A kinetic model which includes three pseudo components was used to simulate the pyrolysis for different dimensions, and the obtained kinetic parameters were compared and discussed in details. By industrial analysis the products of ashes for different particle sizes were compared, and especially it was implied that to some extent the activation energy and ash content involve negative correlation.


pyrolysis, particle size, forest fuels, wildfires

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