Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-380
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-380

  28 May 2021

28 May 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Technical Note: Pyrolysis principles explain time-resolved organic aerosol release from biomass burning

Mariam Fawaz1, Anita Avery2, Timothy B. Onasch2, Leah R. Williams2, and Tami C. Bond1,3 Mariam Fawaz et al.
  • 1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 205 N Mathews Ave, Urbana, Il 61801
  • 2Aerodyne Research Inc., Billerica, Massachusetts 01821, United States
  • 3Department of Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University, 400 Isotope Dr, Fort Collins, CO 80521

Abstract. Emission of organic aerosol (OA) from wood combustion is not well constrained; understanding the governing factors of OA emissions would aid in explaining the reported variability. Pyrolysis of the wood during combustion is the process that produces and releases OA precursors. We performed controlled pyrolysis experiments at representative combustion conditions. The conditions changed were the temperature, wood length, wood moisture content, and wood type. The mass loss of the wood, the particle concentrations, and light gas concentrations were measured continuously. The experiments were repeatable as shown by a single experiment, performed nine times, in which the real-time particle concentration varied by a maximum of 20 %. Higher temperatures increased the mass loss rate and the released concentration of gases and particles. Large wood size had a lower yield of particles than the small size because of higher mass transfer resistance. Reactions outside the wood became important between 500 and 600 °C. Elevated moisture content reduced product formation because heat received was shared between pyrolysis reactions and moisture evaporation. The thermophysical properties, especially the thermal diffusivity, of wood controlled the difference in the mass loss rate and emission among seven wood types. This work demonstrates that OA emission from wood pyrolysis is a deterministic process that depends on transport phenomena.

Mariam Fawaz et al.

Status: open (until 16 Jul 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-380', Anonymous Referee #1, 13 Jun 2021 reply

Mariam Fawaz et al.

Mariam Fawaz et al.

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Short summary
Biomass burning is responsible for 90 % of the emissions of primary organic aerosols to the atmosphere. Emissions from biomass burning sources are considered chaotic. In this work, we developed a controlled experimental approach to understand the controlling factors in emission. Our results showed that emissions are repeatable and deterministic and that emissions from wood can be constrained.
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