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Centers of Excellence

Thermal Analysis

The EERC conducts analyses of organic solids and liquids provided by research entities within the EERC as well as outside researchers who may not otherwise have access to the required techniques or instrumentation. The EERC also develops new methods and improves existing methods for the analysis of organic solids and liquids and performs small bench-scale reactions under pressure and temperature conditions simulating those of large-scale reactors.

Laboratory Facilities
The laboratory contains equipment for the analysis of micro (milligram) and macro (10-gram) samples.

Thermal Analysis Equipment

  • Pressurized thermogravimetric analysis: TG-Minireactor capable of operation at up to 900°C and 600 psig
  • Thermogravimetric analysis: DuPont 951 thermogravimetric analyzer (TGA) interfaced with DuPont 2100 thermal analyzer
  • Differential scanning calorimetry: DuPont 910 differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) interfaced with DuPont 2100 thermal analyzer
  • Thermal reactivity: Cahn TGA System 113-DC and 1000 thermal reactivity system
  • Surface area: Micromeritics Flowsorb II 2300 (by arrangement with the UND Department of Chemical Engineering)

Thermal Analysis Methods

  • Coal proximate analysis: Measuring the weight loss of a coal sample on heating under inert atmosphere allows the moisture and volatile matter to be determined. Fixed carbon and ash content (with oxygen added) are determined by continuing the heating under an oxidizing atmosphere.
  • Simulated distillation: The volatility of components in a mixture can be observed with increasing temperature to determine a cumulative distillation curve.
  • Gas adsorption and surface activity: The adsorption of a known gas can be observed from the weight change of a solid sample. Measuring gas adsorption and knowing the surface area of the sample allow the surface activity toward a given gas to be calculated.
  • Char preparation and reaction kinetics: Chars can be prepared in various gases, including steam, at temperatures up to 1000°C or can be reacted at temperatures of up to 900°C and pressures up to 600 psig. Subsequent rates of reaction and weight loss in oxygen or a gasification environment, including steam, CO2, H2/CO, SO2, and NO, can be measured to determine the chemical reactivity of the char.
  • Calorimetry measurements: Characterization of solids and polymers can include measurements of specific heat capacity, melting points, heats of crystallization, and heat of reaction of condensed phases. The measurements can be carried out under ambient pressure or at pressures up to 1000 psig.

Additional Analysis Equipment

  • Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) analysis of product gas effluents from thermal studies can be added to any of the study methods. It provides real-time online analysis of gaseous species including SO2, CO2, CO, NO2, NO, CH4, and other hydrocarbon carbonyl compounds and even ammonia or water. Spectra of the gas effluents and chromatograms of individual species or functional groups are produced. Effluent gases can also be analyzed for elemental mercury (Hg) content online using modern cold-vapor atomic absorption instrumentation.