The present research work focuses on understanding the kinetics and mechanism of co-pyrolysis of cellulose, a major constituent of biomass, and polypropylene (PP) that is abundantly present in waste plastics. Co-pyrolysis of cellulose and PP of different compositions, viz., 100:0, 80:20, 60:40, 40:60, 20:80, and 0:100 (mass%/mass%), was carried out in a thermogravimetric analyzer at various heating rates from 5 to 180 K min-1. The kinetics of slow to medium heating rate pyrolysis was analyzed using first Kissinger and Kissinger-Akahira-Sunose techniques. Cellulose and PP decomposition occurred in two distinct temperature regimes, viz., 575-650 and 675-775 K, respectively. However, apparent activation energies of thermal decomposition of the mixtures clearly indicated the presence of interaction between cellulose and PP. The presence of cellulose in the mixture decreased the apparent activation energy of PP decomposition from 210 to 120 kJ mol-1, while the presence of PP did not affect the apparent activation energy of cellulose decomposition (E a = 158 ± 3 kJ mol-1). A significant decrease in apparent activation energy was observed in the conversion regime corresponding to the completion of cellulose pyrolysis and beginning of PP pyrolysis. Differential scanning calorimetry data clearly showed the shift of exothermic char formation to higher temperatures with PP incorporation in the mixture. The presence of PP also resulted in reduction of final char content. Based on the above analyses, a new interaction step that involves a bimolecular reaction of activated PP with volatiles from cellulose pyrolysis to form interaction products and char is proposed, and the rate limiting steps for char formation are clearly identified.
- Apparent activation energy
- Thermogravimetric analysis