Thermochimica Acta, Vol.616, 9-13, 2015
A thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) method to determine the catalytic conversion of cellulose from carbon-supported hydrogenolysis process
The ability to determine the quantity of solid reactant that has been transformed after a catalytic reaction is fundamental in accurately defining the conversion of the catalyst. This quantity is also central when investigating the recyclability of a solid catalyst as well as process control in an industrial catalytic application. However, when using carbon-supported catalysts for the conversion of cellulose this value is difficult to obtain using only a gravimetric method. The difficulty lies in weighing errors caused by loss of the solid mixture (catalyst and non-converted cellulose) after the reaction and/or moisture adsorption by the substrate. These errors are then propagated into the conversion calculation giving erroneous results. Thus, a quantitative method using thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) has been developed to determine the quantity of cellulose after a catalytic reaction by using a tungsten carbide catalyst supported on activated carbon. Stepped separation of TGA curves was used for quantitative analysis where three thermal events were identified: moisture loss, cellulose decomposition and CO/CO2 formation. An analytical curve was derived and applied to quantify the residual cellulose after catalytic reactions which were performed at various temperatures and reaction times. The catalytic conversion was calculated and compared to the standard gravimetric method. Results showed that catalytic cellulose conversion can be determined using TGA and exhibits lower uncertainty (+/- 2%) when compared to gravimetric determination (+/- 5%). Therefore, it is a simple and relatively inexpensive method to determine catalytic conversion for scientific and industrial applications. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.