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Kinetics of pyrolysis of litter materials from pine and eucalyptus forests


Wildfires are an integral feature of the Australian continent. To estimate the rate of spread of wildfires using computational models it is important to know the kinetic parameters of the materials that constitute the fuel load in forests. These kinetic parameters are utilised in pyrolysis and combustion sub-models of a computational model. In the present work, the kinetics of pyrolysis of timber and litter materials (consisting of bark, twigs, and leaves) from Pinus radiata and Eucalyptus obliqua subsp. messmate forests were estimated under nitrogen. The activation energy for the pyrolysis of timber was found to be independent of conversion, whereas it varied for the litter materials in the range of the pyrolysis temperatures employed. Furthermore, the parameters pertaining to a single equivalent reaction model were also identified. For the samples studied, the most suitable reaction model was identified as the Johnson–Mehl–Avrami model. The activation energy measurements reported here are consistent with measurements previously reported for other species within the Pinus and Eucalyptus genera.

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α :

The degree of conversion (dimensionless)

α p :

The degree of conversion at the maxima of the differential kinetic curve at each heating rate

A :

Pre-exponential factor (s−1)

β :

Heating rate (K min−1)

E :

Activation energy (kJ mol−1)


The general form of the kinetic model


Derivative form of the kinetic model (d(f(α))/dα)


The integral form of the kinetic model \(\int {d\alpha /f(\alpha )}\)

R :

The Universal gas constant (8.314 J mole−1 K−1)

t :

Time (s)

T :

Absolute temperature (K)

x :

Reduced activation energy (E/RT)

x p :

Reduced activation energy at the maxima of the differential kinetic curve at each heating rate


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We wish to acknowledge the financial support given by the Bushfire and Natural Hazard Cooperative Research Centre, Melbourne, Australia. The authors also thank Dr. Marlene Cran, Prof. Graham Thorpe, and Mr. Lyndon Macindoe at Victoria University for their assistance and helpful discussions in this work.

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Correspondence to R. Wadhwani.

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Wadhwani, R., Sutherland, D., Moinuddin, K.A.M. et al. Kinetics of pyrolysis of litter materials from pine and eucalyptus forests. J Therm Anal Calorim 130, 2035–2046 (2017).

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  • Wildfires
  • Australian forests
  • Forest litters
  • Pine
  • Eucalyptus
  • Pyrolysis
  • TG