Fractionated pyrolysis coupled to gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS) appears as an interesting analytical tool for elucidating lignocellulosic biomass structure, as it allows the progressive release of chemical fragments representative of biomass macromolecular composition. In this paper the effect of fractionated pyrolysis time (from 5 s to 300 s) on the degradation of lignin and carbohydrates from beech wood was studied at temperatures between 250 °C and 500 °C. Fractionated Py-GC/MS showed that the release temperature of the volatile degradation products varied between the volatile species detected. In addition, the step duration time changed the thermal degradation behavior of lignocellulosic components. Shortening the constant step duration time from 300 s to 5 s shifted the maximum weight loss to the higher temperatures. The result was opposite at long step duration times. Time optimization at each pyrolysis temperature (250 °C, 40 s; 300 °C, 30 s; 350 °C, 25 s; 370 °C, 20 s; 400 °C, 15 s; 450 °C, 10 s; 500 °C, 5 s) enhanced the yield of both lignin and carbohydrate volatile pyrolysis degradation products. In addition, two multiple temperature maxima were shown for some lignin and carbohydrate derivatives. This behavior may be due to the two different pathways of formation and macromolecular origins of compounds in beech wood. At optimized conditions lignin derivatives having a 3-carbon side chain substituent had a maximum at lower temperature than that of lignin derivatives with a 1-carbon side chain substituent. That phenomenon follows the order of primary and secondary pyrolysis reactions. Similar behaviors were observed among the degradation products of hemicelluloses and cellulose. Degradation products of hemicelluloses were mainly released at lower temperatures than those of cellulose derivatives, which illustrates the lower thermal stability of hemicelluloses compared to cellulose.
- Fractionated pyrolysis
- Thermal degradation