Research Papers: Fuel Combustion

Determination of Composition of Cellulose and Lignin Mixtures Using Thermogravimetric Analysis

[+] Author and Article Information
Kaushlendra Singh

Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30605ksingh@uga.edu

Mark Risse

Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30605mrisse@engr.uga.edu

K. C. Das

Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30605kdas@engr.uga.edu

John Worley

Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30605jworley@engr.uga.edu

J. Energy Resour. Technol 131(2), 022201 (May 19, 2009) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3120349 History: Received April 12, 2007; Revised November 05, 2008; Published May 19, 2009

The proportional composition of cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, and minerals in a biomass plays a significant role in the proportion of pyrolysis products (bio-oil, char, and gases). Traditionally, the composition of biomass is chemically determined, which is a time consuming process. This paper presents the results of a preliminary investigation of a method using thermogravimetric analysis for predicting the fraction of cellulose and lignin in lignin-cellulose mixtures. The concept is based on a newly developed theory of pyrolytic unit thermographs (PUTs). The PUT is a thermograph showing rate of change in biomass weight with respect to temperature for a unit weight loss. These PUTs were used as input for two predictive mathematical procedures that minimize noise to predict the fractional composition in unknown lignin-cellulose mixtures. The first model used linear correlations between cellulose/lignin content and peak decomposition rate while the second method used a system of linear equations. Results showed that both models predicted the composition of lignin-cellulose mixture within 7–18% of measured value. The promising results of this preliminary study will certainly motivate further refinement of this method through advanced research.

Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Grahic Jump Location
Figure 1

The dtg curves for cellulose and lignin were obtained by taking the first derivative of the TGA output. These dtg curves and the char yield obtained from the TGA output were used to prepare the PUT for (a) cellulose and (b) lignin.

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Figure 2

The PUT for lignin-cellulose mixture L1C1 was prepared from experimental TGA data and from PUTs of cellulose and lignin using Eq. 4

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Figure 3

PUTs of cellulose, lignin, L1C1, and L1C2 were plotted in one coordinated system. It was noticed that both major decomposition peaks for lignin occurred at 271.5°C and 441.5°C, respectively, for pure lignin, L1C1, and L1C2. The decomposition peak for pure cellulose did not align with the cellulose peaks in two mixtures.

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Figure 4

All the decomposition peaks aligned when cellulose PUT was shifted by 15.66°C

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Figure 5

The linear relationship was obtained between (a) cellulose content and peak decomposition rate and (b) lignin content and peak decomposition

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Figure 6

Frequency distribution of solutions for cellulose content obtained by solving a system of linear equations described by Eqs. 3,4 for two mixtures: (a) L1C1 and (b) L1C2




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